Ways to be An Environmentally Conscious Beach-goer
Turtle nesting season in Florida may have officially come to an end for the 2017 season, but that doesn’t mean that our beach ecosystems are any less fragile. In fact, beaches are some of the most fragile ecosystems in the world. Here are five ways you can be more environmentally friendly on your next visit to the beach!
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Don’t leave behind trash
This one seems obvious, but it happens all too often. Big or small, trash is extremely dangerous to beach habitats. Of all debris collected from beaches, 21% are cigarette butts. Although small, cigarette butts contain carcinogens and chemicals that can be ingested by animals causing unnecessary harm.
If you’re worried about where to dispose of your garbage, use caution and bring your own bag just in case you can’t locate a trash bin nearby!
Don’t walk on sand dunes
Sand dunes play a major role in protecting the beach from beach erosion, and during turtle nesting season, mothers will often bury their eggs near dunes for protection. Dunes are able to absorb the impact of high energy of storms and protect inland areas from coastal water intrusion.
They may look comfy to lounge on, but they play a major role in the entire coastal ecosystem, so it is important to take extra precaution not to destroy them.
Use caution when bringing pets
Your furry friend may love the beach as much as you do, but use caution when bringing them for a trip. Many beaches do not allow dogs, other than service animals, onto beaches for many reasons.
Salt water can be detrimental to dogs if they ingest it. If too much, and it doesn’t take much, is ingested, it can cause dogs what is called “beach diarrhea.” This poses a problem for both the beach, and your furry friend. As pet waste is deposited onto the sand, it leaves behind potentially dangerous bacteria and can leave your pup extremely dehydrated.
If you absolutely must bring your pet, ensure you bring the proper supplies to clean up after them, and never let them run free or out of sight. Additionally, be sure to pay close attention to make sure they do not try to eat any sea animals that may have washed ashore.
Don’t drive out of prescribed areas
Some Florida beaches permit driving and parking on the shoreline. If you happen to be visiting a beach that allows this, ensure that you abide by all the posted rules. Stay alert, and be sure that you are not driving or parking outside the prescribed limits. These limits are set to protect turtle nests, sand dunes, and other aspects of the beach ecosystem.
Even if you aren’t on the beach, remain aware
Even if you are not sunbathing on the beach or splashing in the waves, you can still help protect the beach from the comfort of your home. Everything you let go down the drain or put on your lawn and garden can potentially end up in the ocean. This means any chemical pesticides you may use in your garden, fertilizer, oils, cosmetics, and chemical cleaners just to name a few. Use caution when using and disposing of these products. When you dispose of them down any sort of drainage system, they make their way to the local watershed, and eventually into streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.