Having just celebrated World Oceans Day on the 8th June, it’s clear to see that the main topic of discussion is ocean pollution, and rightly so. It’s predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, and already the Great Pacific Garbage Patch occupies an area twice the size of Texas! On a recent trip to Thailand, I was shocked to see so much litter on the beaches and in the water. I had visited the same beaches nearly 10 years ago and I definitely don’t remember seeing half as much waste polluting the coastline as I did this time. This might be because I, like many others, are simply just more aware of the issues surrounding ocean pollution, thanks to an increase in mainstream media coverage and inspiring documentaries such as Blue Planet. With more and more people wanting to make a difference and play their part in helping clean up the oceans, I wanted to write a post about one simple way that you can achieve this on your travels…
Join a beach cleaning group!
While visiting the small island of Koh Mak in Thailand, I was pleased to see posters around the island advertising a beach cleaning group that meets every week to collect and correctly dispose of rubbish that washes up on the shores around the island. I unfortunately wasn’t able to join the group on their next beach clean as I was leaving the island the day before their scheduled meeting. I did however look them up online and followed them on social media, and it was great to see how many people (locals and tourists) get involved each week and the sheer amount of rubbish they are able to collect. I’ve participated in beach clean-up events before in the UK and was surprised by how enjoyable collecting rubbish could be! Not only do you get a great sense of achievement, you also get to spend quality time on the beach chatting to people and enjoying the fresh air. It got me thinking that there must be so many beach cleaning groups around the world and how great it would be if more people thought to include beach cleaning on their travel itineraries!
So, to help you find a beach cleaning event near your next trip, I’ve listed a few websites and groups operating in different parts of the world. If you know of any other groups worthy of a mention, please comment below!
Trash Hero ( https://trashhero.org/ )
Trash Hero is an organisation committed to reducing and cleaning up waste. They operate beach cleaning groups all over the world (Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Europe and the USA). It was actually a Trash Hero group that I saw in Koh Mak, and it turns out they have over 25 beach cleaning groups in locations across Thailand!
Speak Up For Blue (http://www.speakupforblue.com/beach-clean-up )
Speak Up For Blue is a website and podcast created by marine ecologist Andrew Lewin. I’ve pasted the link to his list of beach clean ups above, as he has included a lot of links to groups in Canada and North America.
Let’s Do It (https://www.letsdoitworld.org/ )
Let’s do it, is an organisation with clean up groups in 134 countries! Visit their website and click on a country to find out who is organising clean ups in the area and when their next World Cleanup Day will be taking place!
Take 3 For The Sea (https://www.take3.org/ )
A different kind of beach clean concept, Take 3 For The Sea is a campaign to encourage people to collect three pieces of rubbish every time they visit a beach, waterway, or anywhere! Post a photo with #take3forthesea to join the movement and inspire other to do the same!