Swim. Play. Relax. Whatever may be your reason for going to the beach, you might be inadvertently doing harm to the environment. And in the same vein, your small, mindful actions can help protect the seas.
If you are planning to visit a beach, here are a few tips to make your trip more eco-friendly.
Invest in a reusable bag
Plastics are one of the most significant contributors to pollution, driven mainly by consumerism. You can do your fair share of stemming the tide against pollution by merely reusing the bags currently in your closet.
If you do need a new bag to replace your worn out one or if you need a bigger bag to accommodate your belongings, choose a bag that is fabricated using recycled materials. Today, that is an easy task considering the number of companies committed to saving the environment. You can now find beach bags fashioned out of different materials, ranging from boat sailcloth to old tarpaulins.
Ditch the disposable water bottle
With plenty of water around you at the beach, you might find it easy to drink water. As you are swimming, playing water sports, or simply frolicking by the beach, do not forget to keep yourself hydrated.
But instead of buying water bottled using single-use plastic, consider buying a reusable bottle. A quick online search will yield you with a diverse number of choices, with water bottles made from materials like glass, stainless steel, and recycled plastic. Plus, these bottles are available in different sizes.
Bring a reusable container for your snacks
If you are going to spend the whole day frolicking on the beach, you will need to eat to replenish your energy.
Instead of bringing a bag of chips, consider prepping meals right before your trip. And for these meals, consider using a reusable container. The good thing about that is that most likely, you have at least one in your home, and you do not have to buy a new one.
Apart from being eco-friendly, reusable water bottles offer a few advantages. For one, these bottles are easy to carry around. Plus, you can end up saving more money over the long term because they are durable. Cleaning these bottles are relatively quick and easy. Finally, you’ll be spoiled with the variety of colors and designs to choose from.
Use reef-safe sunscreens
Sunscreens provide a protective barrier between your skin and the sun’s harmful rays. Unfortunately, sunscreens can pose serious harm to the oceans, specifically to corals which serve as home to different marine lives.
Unknown to many people, a lot of personal care products, including sunscreens, contain ingredients that leach into the seas where these cause serious harm. It is only until recently that some beaches have banned the use of sunscreens that are not reef-safe.
When you apply sunscreen, and it is not yet fully absorbed by your skin, the excess sunscreen goes to the water, eventually winding its way to the corals.
Fortunately, you can now buy reef-safe sunscreens. However, be aware that the packaging these come in may not be recyclable, so choose one that comes in a reusable bottle.
Play with eco-friendly toys
If you have kids, you are most likely considering buying and bringing beach toys for your trip.
The problem with most of these toys are most of them cannot be recycled. If you have a few old toys in your home, consider bringing these with you instead of buying new ones. Inflatables can be patched. If you do need to purchase new ones, choose those that are made with biodegradable materials.
Take care of the trash
Be mindful of your trash and do not leave any on the beach. Find a trash bin and put your waste there. Otherwise, bring these along with you and throw these in your trash bins at home.
Stay out of restricted areas
Many beaches have areas that are restricted from visitors. These policies are designed not only to protect the safety and wellbeing of beach resort visitors but the environment as well. Follow these rules carefully for the benefit of the environment and other people who will visit the beach.
Every little thing counts
All these small actions may seem to amount to nothing. Individually, yes. But when each beach visitor contributes a small action, when added together, these can snowball to make a massive dent on the problem that is water pollution.
Remember, you are not just going to the beach for fun. Countless lives depend on the sea, not only for recreation. In various corners of the globe, people depend on the oceans and seas for their livelihood and their food.
You can contribute significantly to preserving the seas, not only for your fellow visitors. But more importantly, for the next generation of people. Every little small act counts.
Soraya Abdul Azis is the Marketing Manager for Saadiyat Beach Club in the UAE, the very first beach club on Saadiyat where guests can enjoy and celebrate a world of fine living, health and well-being. Soraya has worked in Design, Advertising and PR in Dubai and Beirut for the past 4 years.