As spring break approaches and Knoxville packs up and heads to the coastline, keep in mind our oceans and the wonderful wildlife that lives in them! The ocean covers 70% of the planet, making it the largest wildlife habitat to exist in the world. It is also one of the most polluted places on the planet, with an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean right now. In order to do our part in improving ocean health, it’s important to keep in mind some simple tips.
Refuse: Refuse products made out of plastic.
As plastic becomes more ubiquitous in our culture, it is important to remember that plastic takes a long time to biodegrade. When plastics eventually biodegrade they can break down into smaller and smaller parts, which eventually turn into microplastics. Microplastics are harmful to marine and human life because they can be inhaled into the lungs and disrupt natural functions.
It seems obvious, but don’t leave anything in the natural environment that isn’t already there. This can include food left on the beach or any other materials that you accidentally leave behind when packing up. The most common littered materials found on beaches around the world are cigarette butts and food wrappings. Let’s do our best to make sure absolutely all of our waste, even the little bits end up in the right place.
Recycle: Recycle if you can.
Many plastics are easy to recycle and can find their way to new uses instead of the landfill. Check to see what type of plastic you have then make sure it is appropriately being taken care of. This guide is a great start to learning about the different types of plastic. Another easy material to recycle is aluminum. Recycling one aluminum can saves 95% of the energy required to make the original can!
Ride a Bike!
Almost all beach towns have cheap bike rental places scattered around. Try and rent one at the start of the week and use it to meander back and forth from the beach! It’s a fun activity for you and your friends, and reduces carbon emissions from car trips.
If you see litter-pick it up!
It’s easy to see litter and think someone else will get it, but chances are, they won’t! Bring an extra bag for all the debris laying around and you and your friends can really call yourselves planet protectors!
We wish you all a relaxing, rejuvenating, and a sustainable Spring Break.