Hawaii is home to over 100 tropical beaches that feature wildlife, beautiful white sand, and crystal clear waters. Millions of tourists from all over the world visit our state every year to take photos, swim in the inviting waters, and participate in events like weddings and family reunions. Unfortunately, the threat of climate change and exponential population growth are negatively impacting our most treasured recreation areas.
Although many modern headlines on the topic of climate change only preach doom and gloom, there are plenty of things average citizens can do to eliminate waste and keep our beaches beautiful. Here are three simple suggestions to get you started.
Implement zero-waste practices. These days, almost everything comes wrapped in plastic. Whether it’s a bag of salad, potato chips, or a plastic sleeve wrapped around a bouquet of flowers, plastic is as ubiquitous as MLB games during the month of June. You might not be able to change the packaging practices of large corporations, but you can choose where you shop. Instead of buying jars and bottles, consider recycling old containers and purchasing items like beans, rice, and lentils in bulk.
Another easy way to go zero-waste is to bring your own bags to the grocery store. Earth-policy.org estimates that 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year, which averages out to nearly 2 million plastic bags every minute. Lose the plastic and opt for a canvas tote instead.
Stop using plastic drinking straws. A 2018 study by National Geographic found that 500 million straws are used in the U.S. every day. What’s more, a large percentage of those straws make their way into the ocean, negatively impacting wildlife and polluting our waterways. Straws are convenient and fun, but they aren’t necessary. Try drinking your favorite beverage without one or invest in a reusable metal one.
Organize a beach clean up. You might not be able to control the actions of others, but you can help keep Hawaii’s beaches beautiful by cleaning up. Get a group of friends, co-workers, or family members together and organize a weekend cleaning event. Even setting aside an hour or two can make a huge dent in eradicating cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and other debris from our coasts.
What steps will you take to keep Hawaii’s beaches clean? Let us know by visiting our Facebook page and leaving a comment.