The recent rash of nuisance flooding has not only brought headaches for downtown residents and commuters, but also marine debris. Marine debris—also known as litter, is human-created waste found in oceans and waterways. During the past few days we’ve experienced the excessive flooding—and an increase in marine debris on beaches located next to the Aquarium.
In fact—in just one day we collected more than 16-pounds of litter on the beach located to the left of our facility. Most of that consisted of plastic bags, plastic bottles, Styrofoam and bottle caps.
These items are harmful to marine life, such as sea turtles, which mistake items like plastic bags for jellyfish. In the past year the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program team treated several turtles that accidentally ingested small pieces of plastic which contributed to them being admitted to our Sea Turtle Hospital. This is a great reminder to be mindful of what you consume and how you dispose of it.
We challenge you to try to cut down on single-use plastic items such as water bottles, plastic bags, and Styrofoam products and instead opt for reusable items. Another easy step to combat the marine debris problem is to pick up any litter you may see around your neighborhood and beaches. These simple steps can have a long-lasting, positive effect on not only our oceans and waterways, but our planet as a whole.