BENEFITS OF BEACH CLEANING
It's obvious that group beach clean events are beneficial to the environment...
But there are other benefits and outcomes that can improve people's lives and mental wellbeing...
HELPS THE LOCAL ECONOMY
"Seaside communities around the world get a huge boost to their economies from both fishing and tourism. When beaches are free of litter, tourists and visitors are much more likely to enjoy them and spend money at businesses near the beaches. If the water is clear of litter, fishers, as well as tourist-oriented businesses like scuba diving tours, are more likely to be able to make a solid living for themselves. Your beach cleanup will help the local economy!" - The Environmentor
YOU SAVE MARINE ANIMALS
"Over the past few years, the world has woken up to horrifying headlines about sea life that has unfortunately died due to consuming or being trapped by the waste we throw in the oceans. When our garbage washes up on coastlines, it gives us an opportunity to remove it before the tide washes it back out. Removing litter that we find on the beach guarantees that marine wildlife won’t come into contact with it and perhaps find itself imperilled in some way or another." - The Environmentor
A SAFER ENVIRONMENT
"Litter isn’t just unsightly, but it can actually be dangerous. Metal with sharp edges and pieces of glass can create a public health hazard just as much as an aesthetic one. These sharp pieces of litter can easily hide in sand and cause serious injuries! If you see items like this, be extra cautious when picking them up so not to injure yourself." - The Environmentor
IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH
I've asked countless volunteers if they enjoyed the beach clean and 9 times out of 10 their response is that they found it therapeutic or relaxing.
Blue Mind may have a part to play on this feeling.
There's a book on it (Blue Mind) which I'd recommend reading by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols which explores the healing power of water!
Joining a group beach clean is a great activity to get you out of the house and a great way to meet new people!
A volunteer who's attended previous beach cleans said how they were feeling lonely and found themselves becoming a recluse... But through attending one of my beach clean events, made a friend and as a result it got them out more.
It was really nice to hear and it's positive outcomes like that, in addition to the positive environmental impact that makes it even more worthwhile!
As an activity, beach cleaning is ideal for those who aren't as social but want to be part of a team activity.
It's also a great activity to take part in to help improve your confidence in group environments.
Since the pandemic and lockdowns, there are a lot more people who suffer from social anxiety
"Walking on the beach is actually better for you than walking on paved, flat surfaces, as the sand makes it a little more challenging to move. You burn more calories, engage your stabilizing muscles more, and even improve your coordination. Walking on sand even makes your feet stronger! Beach exercise is pretty much the best." - The Environmentor
HELP REDUCE WATER POLLUTION
"Cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item on Earth. As you might expect, this litter is one of the most commonly found bits of trash found in the ocean. Cigarette butts are small, but they make a big impact on clean water. After just one hour of exposure, a cigarette butt can contaminate almost 8 litres of water with unhealthy and dangerous chemicals. If you picked just 10 cigarette butts up off the ground, you’re saving nearly 800 litres of water from contamination!" - The Environmentor
PLASTIC POLLUTION HAS A HUGE IMPACT ON THE MARINE ECOSYSTEM, AND IS ALSO DIRECTLY HARMFUL TO LOCAL WILDLIFE
"While plastic pollution is largely an eye-sore to humans, it can be extremely harmful to local marine life. Plastic can easily become entangled and get caught around necks, beaks, feet, wings, flippers and fins of marine animals, choking the poor animals or affecting their mobility and ability to catch food to feed themselves – we’ve all watched Happy Feet. Plastic is also often ingested by marine animals, either by accident or on purpose, which cause blockages in the digestive system. These blockages have been shown to cause suffering in marine animals, as well as internal injuries, suppressed immune and reproductive systems, and often death. A common example of this is turtles, which often mistake plastic bags as jellyfish and end up choking on them when they try to take a bite.
Plastic build-up on beaches can also affect other ecological processes, such as in India where the efforts of just one person, a young lawyer, Afroz Shah, to organize local beach clean-ups along the Versova beach resulted in the return of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles that had been absent for a number of years.
Organizing regular local beach clean-ups can help remove plastic pollution from the marine ecosystem and thus protect local wildlife. This is also a great way to encourage locals to get involved, as many ocean creatures are charismatic and attract people’s attention." - ReefCause Conservation