The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College in collaboration with the City of Destin, City of Fort Walton Beach, FedEx and Nick’s Seafood Restaurant, will host an Earth Day Coastal Cleanup effort to reduce and to raise awareness for, the negative impact imposed by marine debris (trash) along coastal environments in Okaloosa County, Florida.
After reviewing the startling results from the International Coastal Cleanup, a collaborative effort with the Ocean Conservancy which took place this past September, the need to expand the annual effort to a bi-annual event was necessary. The partnership between the four entities will host two sites- Norriego Point Public Beach Access and Liza Jackson Park, on Friday, April 22, 2016, from 8am-10am. Public participation is welcome and encouraged.
“Marine debris is a real issue for coastal environments. What is conveniently left behind by locals and visitors along coastal shorelines, has become a serious inconvenience to life and the stability of the marine ecosystems that are affected by it. In fact, marine debris is one of the most widespread sources of pollution that marine environments face today. Of those pollutants, consumer plastics take the lead. In a recent report, it was estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans and waterways than fish (by weight). That is the scary truth of the negative impact imposed by marine debris.” Said Sarah Davis, Outreach Coordinator for CBA.
Of the approximately 9,500 individual pieces of marine debris removed from the three sites during the September Coastal Cleanup effort- Norriego Point Public Beach Access, Liza Jackson Park and Bay Flats Recreation Area, 33% of the debris was comprised of consumer plastics. A close runner-up to discarded cigarette butts, which comprised 55% of the debris removed. Cigarette butts take 10-12 years to decompose in a marine ecosystem.
Volunteers are encouraged to wear closed-toed shoes, weather appropriate clothing, and are asked to bring a water bottle and gloves to the cleanup. Additional supplies for the effort will be provided to volunteers upon arrival to their site location. Volunteers are asked to arrive a few minutes early to ensure proper instruction and preparedness for the cleanup process.
For more information regarding the Earth Day Coastal Cleanup at Norriego Point Public Beach Access or Liza Jackson Park, please contact Sarah Davis- Outreach Coordinator for CBA at email@example.com.