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Clean Beaches Week

Author: Patrick Macpherson

This week (July 1st-7th) is Clean Beaches Week in the US, also known as the “Earth Day” for beaches. The initiative was established in 2003 by the Clean Beaches Coalition and intentionally occurs during the most popular beach day of the year: July 4th. In 2007, Senate and House of Representatives passed the by unanimous consent. This resolution was to recognize the importance of beaches to the economy, recreation, and natural environment while encouraging all Americans to keep beaches safe and clean for continued enjoyment. While we can all enjoy a nice trip to the beach, the Clean Beaches Coalition encourages beachgoers to abide by these seven ethics for visits to the shore:

  1. Leave no trace (what you carry in, carry out);
  2. Move your body (walk, run or swim);
  3. Don’t tread the dunes (use a walkover or walk-thru);
  4. Know your limits (swim, surf, and boat safely);
  5. You are what you eat (eat healthy seafood);
  6. Feed your mind (read a book); and
  7. Respect the Ocean (riptides, storms, natural resources).

We acknowledge that leaving no trace can be particularly difficult, though is still incredibly important. The beach will also certainly need a bit more love to be clean again after a holiday. We should all embrace the 7 reminders for future beach visits and clean up our local beaches to continue enjoying them for decades to come. Plus, you could make it fun by organizing a post 4th of July cleanup and combining it with a happy hour. If you need help in planning a beach cleanup, the National Environmental Education Foundation provides a comprehensive guide with more resources. They even outline how to become a citizen scientist by logging the found trash to contribute to global data collection. And a cleanup doesn’t need to be a full event—even taking a trash bag with you on a walk and picking up trash as you go can have a lasting impact.

If you’re local to San Diego County, there are several beaches considered Top-Rated by Heal the Bay including Del Mar, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Point Loma, Mission Beach, and La Jolla Shores Beach that would be great places to start if you want to take action. And while most people think of coastal beaches for cleanup locations, beaches on lakes and rivers are also important in their ecological and recreational value. We should all strive to keep our local beaches (no matter what body of water they’re near) as clean as possible by practicing responsible habits and helping clean them even outside of Clean Beaches Week!