There are more than 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in our oceans.
That's a STAGGERING amount.
269,000 tons of that debris floats on the surface of the water, while the rest pollutes the ocean depths, according to National Geographic.
How did it all get there? Well, about half of it comes from land, washed out to sea from storm drains or waterways, sent into the water by poorly managed waste facilities, or left on the beach by beachgoers.
Luckily, caring people across the world are coming together to keep our beaches clean and take beach waste out of the water. Check it out!
What an incredible way to do something meaningful for Mother Nature and have fun in the process! In fact, beach cleanups and feeling good go more hand-in-hand than we might think.
Cleaning beaches can actually be more fulfilling than just walking on them.
In a 2010 study published in Environment and Behaviour, scientists examined the behavior of volunteers as they engaged in different beach activities, such as rock pooling or walking along the coast. But when it came to beach cleaning, they noticed a significant spike in participants' well-being, their understanding of the marine environment, and their desire to participate in future beach cleanups.
Which is absolutely awesome! But then again, who doesn't love a day at the beach? It's no wonder that a chance to improve it only makes it that much more special the next time around.
Figuring out how to make caring for our beaches and oceans a habit is a much-needed step in the right direction.
"There is no one answer to solving the problem of marine litter, but the public are absolutely key — we all use plastics in our everyday lives so small changes in behavior by a lot of people can have a huge effect," Richard Thompson, professor of marine biology at Plymouth University and an expert on marine litter, told Phys.org.
"The challenge is to reverse some 60 years of training for the throwaway society we live in today, lessening the environmental and societal impacts of marine litter, and initiatives such as beach cleans can play a big role in increasing awareness of the problems and potential solutions."
The challenge to get rid of marine waste may be daunting, but together, we can do amazing things.
No doubt it'll take time.
But there's an old Chinese proverb that says, "To get through the hardest journey, we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping."
And beach cleanups are a small but important step.
If people around the world have that same mindset in the journey toward cleaner shores, we may meet our goal sooner rather than later.
How can you help? Celebrate World Beach Rescue Day (WBRD) on July 9, 2016.
It's part of a project of Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and the Surfrider Foundation called Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project. Together, they've been cleaning beaches around the world for years. For their 10th anniversary, they decided to start WBRD and do something a little special.
Different countries will be holding different beach cleanups simultaneously with the single goal of improving the conditions of their shores.
Since the project's inception 10 years ago, the beach-cleaning effort has expanded to more than 14 countries around the world with 14,000 volunteers who have collected more than 20 tons of trash from beaches.
This year, they're encouraging people to do their part and “Leave Only Footprints.”
And, of course, have some fun with it.
Don't worry! Volunteers will be given everything they need: reusable bags, gloves, and ... wine?
That's right! WINE! Once the cleaning is completed, everyone will be able to kick back with Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and enjoy some delicious food courtesy of the Surfrider Foundation.
A sunny day at the beach. Improving the environment. Celebrating with a glass of wine. How can you not keep coming back?