South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium

INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEANUP DAY: BE AN ANGEL AND A PIRATE ALL AT ONCE

PLEASE KEEP ME SAFE FROM GARBAGE THAT ENDS UP IN MY STOMACH.

PLEASE KEEP ME SAFE FROM GARBAGE THAT ENDS UP IN MY STOMACH.

You’re going to have a lot of fun this weekend. Two important dates coincide on Saturday September 19th : Talk Like A Pirate Day and the 30th Annual International Coastal Cleanup. If you work it right, you’re going to have a blast swinging your cutlass with one hand and cleaning up the beaches with the other. And in the offing you’ll make new friends.

The Ocean Conservancy is one of the driving forces behind the event that not only beautifies beaches and rivers all around the world but serves a very real and practical purpose… removing dangerous trash before it washes into the ocean and gets ingested by birds, turtles, and other marine life.

The Ocean Conservancy, one of several environmental groups at the forefront of the battle to save our oceans, estimates that since International Coastal Cleanup began thirty years ago that 200 million pounds of trash have been removed from beaches, bays, and rivers.

I URGE you to join a group near you and give back to Mother Nature some of the love she has given you. You don’t have to spend all day on the beach or bay picking up garbage. Most cleanups last only three hours. If all you can afford is an hour, go for it. All those hours add up as does the garbage that we won’t have to worry about… garbage that is likely to end up in the stomachs and digestive tracts of many of those beautiful creatures of the deep.

If you don’t think that you’ll make much difference I urge you to google Turtle Hospitals. There’s quite a few around. Pick one and see what incredible patients they treat who have gotten into terrible situations because they mistook dangerous garbage for food. If you can prevent one seabird, one turtle, one manatee, one fish from an unnatural and hideous death, you will have done a remarkable thing not unlike a miracle.

So go ahead. Talk Like A Pirate, mate, and have fun cleaning up wherever you live. When you drop into bed Saturday night, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve been a special angel to some of those beautiful creatures of the deep. Have a good weekend and smooth sailing into next week. Leave a comment here, and let me know how you made out.

Want more info on South Carolina’s BeachSweep/River Sweep? Organized by the SC Sea Grant Consortium and the SC Dept. of Natural Resources, these folks have been organizing beach sweeps since 1988. Contact http://www.scseagrant.org/.

Check out http://www.oceanconservancy.org/ to learn more about the great work these people do. The Hidden Harbor Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key, Florida is a perfect example of the kind of work being done to assist sick and injured turtles. Visit them at: http://www.turtlehospital.org/