Easy Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact at the Beach

 | 15 Jan 2020

If there's one thing Aussie's love, it's spending time at the beach. However, so many people going to the beach can present numerous hazards for the ocean and marine life. It is critical that we all take steps to minimise our impact when we head out to surf, paddle-board, swim or just relax in the sand.

Below are a few simple ideas to help you protect our oceans and sea life every time you head to the beach. 

Mind Your Rubbish 

As unfortunate as it is, many Australian beaches, particularly the busier ones, are littered with rubbish left behind by visitors. While it may not seem like a big deal to leave a single piece of trash on the beach, this can add up pretty quickly if everyone did this. Pieces of garbage in the sand can make their way into the water, potentially posing a threat to fish and other sea creatures. 

Instead of burying your rubbish in the sand, or worse, leaving it sitting out in the open, bring a bag with you so that you can take back any litter to dispose of at home.  Better yet, take a few minutes to pick up any other rubbish you see and take that away as well. If we all work together to keep our beaches rubbish-free, this small effort will add up to a major impact. 

Watch Your Step 

Many beaches in Australia have coral reefs just off the shoreline, and it can be a lot of fun to explore them. You'll have the chance to see fish, coral and more, so it is only natural to want to get out there.

Walking on the reefs, though, can cause serious damage to the coral, which is a living organism. Instead, bring along a snorkel so that you can float above the reef without disturbing it. This way, you'll still get to see everything, but you won't be damaging the natural habitat in the process. 

Choose Sun Care Products Wisely 

With the depleted ozone layer over Australia, sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays. However, many skincare products are rife with chemicals. When you go swimming, those chemicals can rinse off your skin and contaminate the water and cause coral bleaching.  These have been a significant contributor to the depletion of the Great Barrier Reef and other, smaller reefs around the country.  In Hawaii, there has already been moves to ban the sale or distribution of sunscreens with the most harmful two chemicals (oxybenzone and octinoxate).

When shopping for sun care products, read the ingredients or look for those labelled reef-safe, like Blue Lizard. This Australian brand is committed to helping protect coral reefs while also helping you protect your skin. If you are still concerned about the contents of your sun cream, you can't go wrong with a good rashie and hat. UPF-rated clothing can protect your skin just as well as any skincare product. 

Reduce Your Plastic Use 

Plastic is one of the biggest threats to marine life. Because many plastics are clear, animals can't always see them in the water. They can inadvertently eat plastics or get caught in them, putting their lives in danger. Both at the beach and at home, do your best to minimise your plastic usage, opting instead for packaging and products made from recyclable materials. 

Keep Watch on Your Pets 

It can be loads of fun to bring your dog to the beach to play a game of fetch or frisbee, but pets can cause harm to beach and ocean wildlife just as humans can.  Take care to keep your pet from chasing or attacking birds and other creatures at the seaside. This goes for when they are in the water as well.

Of course, you should always pick up after your pet, too. Bacteria and parasites from animal droppings can make their way into the ocean water, and this can pose a threat to the fish and other creatures that call the water home.  For example, Toxoplasma-ridden animal faeces in California were found to be carried downstream with water pollution into local rivers and streams.  Eventually, the Toxoplasma eggs made their way into the ocean and infected shellfish, which were later ingested by sea otters in the Pacific ocean.

To prevent this from happening bring disposable, biodegradable bags to pick up after your dog.  Be sure not to throw pet waste out near a storm drain where it could potentially get carried into local water sources. 

Honu Is Committed to Protecting our Environment 

Here at Honu, we love the beach as much as anyone, and our team is dedicated to minimising our impact on the oceans we love so much. We are working to reduce plastic packaging for our surfboards, paddle-boards and accessories.  In addition to this, we are also committed to 1% for the planet.  The mission of 1% for the Planet is to help fund diverse environmental organisations so they can collectively be a more powerful source in solving the world’s environmental problems.

When you buy products from us, you can have confidence that you made a choice that will limit damage to our precious environment, so that we can all continue to enjoy it in the future.

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