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Clean-Up Your Beach!

Happy end of National Clean Beaches Week! We at Medcom hope that you had a fun and safe fourth of July. Every year around Independence Day, thousands flock to U.S. beaches. It’s the biggest beach holiday in America, but it’s also the most littered! Today, we’re talking about what we can be doing during National Clean Beaches Week and every week of the summer, to keep our beaches clean and reduce our impact on the coastal environment.

National Clean Beaches Week takes place annually, starting on July 1 and ending on July 7. The week was founded in 2003 and was turned into a nationally recognized week in 2007. The intention is to educate beachgoers on the importance of utilizing our ‘leave no trace’ principles when we’re on the beach too. We’ll go over some of those in a bit. This week has been all about reducing our impact on our nation's beaches, while still taking the time to get out there and enjoy them.

Leave No Trace

Anyone who has spent time hiking or backpacking is probably rolling their eyes right about now because of how many times they’ve had these principles drilled into them. But for those of us that haven’t, let’s do a quick review.

  1. Plan Ahead & Prepare, Pack what you need and leave behind what you don’t.
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces, Make sure the beach you’re on is public and not protected.  
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly, This means that if there’s not a trash can at your beach, you need to carry out your trash.   
  4. Leave What You Find, It’s tempting to take home all of the shells you can carry, but consider what you’re taking away when you’re doing that. That shell was a part of the beach and it could’ve become a home for a crab!  
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts, Check the rules at your local beach before starting a campfire.  
  6. Respect Wildlife, Be considerate of the birds, fish, and crabs that will occupy the space with you. That is their home!  
  7. Be Considerate of Others, Don’t forget about all the people that will want to come to the beach after you, leave it nice for them!  

Besides minimizing your own impact, you could also organize your own beach clean-up to minimize the impact from others! 

Organizing Your Own Clean-Up 

  1. Identify A Clean-Up Site, Make sure to find a place or beach that could really use it. 
  2. Choose A Site Coordinator, You'll want a designated person to make sure everyone arrives and comes to the right place. 
  3. Visit The Site In Advance, Scope it out, and make sure it's a good choice that will benefit from a clean-up. 
  4. Gather Supplies, You'll want to make sure you have plenty of gloves and bags for your volunteers.
  5. Plan How to Handle Recyclables, Figure out where everything is going after the clean-up, how you're sorting it, and what you'll want to be careful with. 
  6. Find Volunteers, Outside of your friends and immediate colleagues, be sure to branch out and find some new people that would want to help out.
  7. Track Your Trash, Weigh how much, or how many bags of trash you're collecting. 
  8. Stay Safe, Stay together as a group and watch out for marine life and potential hazards. 
  9. Take Photos, Have fun and remember your time together! 

As much as we all want to make sure to enjoy our holiday weekends, it's just as important to clean up after yourself. Fireworks and other independence day specific things can have a huge impact on the environment, local wildlife, and the people around you. As an Earth Charter Partner, Medcom works to embody the Earth Charter Pillar, Ecological Integrity, and stand up for the natural world when it can't stand up for itself. A huge thank you to anyone who decided to celebrate this week with a beach clean-up, and remember that you don't need an excuse or a nationally recognized clean-up week to be a good steward of your environment!