Picture a shoreline with wrappers strewn about, pop cans rattling in the wind, broken glass and cigarette butts everywhere you step. Aesthetics may be one of the most obvious impacts of shoreline litter for many people, but it also poses risks to our safety and raises economic concerns.
Unfortunately for the unsuspecting beachgoer, it can be difficult to spot sharp items such as broken glass, metal or plastic hidden in the sand. Similarly, unseen ropes and lines dangling in the ocean pose a significant threat to divers and boaters, and can even cause fatalities when swimmers, snorkelers, and divers become entangled in them.
Certain litter items, such as cigarette butts and electronic waste, leach chemicals into our waterways, which can then end up in our drinking water. Contaminated items such as medical or sewage-related waste also pose serious public health hazards.
Influence on the Economy:
At first glance, shoreline litter considerably reduces the aesthetic value and beauty of the natural environment. It also negatively impacts communities, many of which rely on the income generated by businesses and tourism. On top of the loss in revenues, the cost of cleaning up a shoreline can be high, but this is necessary to uphold the recreational value of these areas.
On the water, aquatic debris is a significant navigational hazard for vessels. Particularly in the fishing and shipping industries, damage to boats occurs frequently and can be costly to repair. Furthermore, ghost-fishing, a term used for discarded fishing gear that continues to catch fish and entangle other animals, can be both economically and environmentally damaging.
PLEASE, be part of the solution and help keep our waters healthy for everyone!!
The national Shoreline Cleanup, a conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF, takes place from September 15 to 23, 2012.
The information contained in this post was obtained from ShorelineCleanup.ca