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  • Writer's pictureHannah Smith

4 Tips For A Sustainable Beach Trip This Summer

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

We can all do our part to help to prevent our own negative effects on marine and beach life in the UK.

After a difficult winter of lockdowns, the British summertime is finally almost upon us, and we now have the freedom to meet in public places once again. Soon enough there will be the smell of the British barbeque in the air as most of us prepare for a trip to our island's many beaches; an increasingly popular pastime.


However, as the popularity of our beaches grows, so does the level of threat to the environment. Here are a few ways that you can remain environmentally conscious during your visits:


1. Pick up your rubbish


Litter is an unfortunate bi-product of our love of visiting the beach as more and more of us are failing to pick up after ourselves during our visits. Our litter has a detrimental effect on the wildlife and is contributing to the growing plastic problem in our oceans.


Statistics show that at least one third of the fish caught in UK waters contains some form of plastic and that by 2050 plastics in our ocean will outnumber the fish. It has also been found that 100 million marine animals around the world die each year from plastic waste alone.


These figures are disturbing, however, you can do your part to help prevent these statistics from increasing. A simple way to avoid contributing to the growing plastic problem is to bring your own bag to collect your litter and cigarette ends (these contain plastic!) which you can take home with you and dispose of it in the correct manner.


Should you wish to go the extra mile, why not even collect litter left by others while you walk along the shoreline? Remember, not everyone is environmentally conscious!


The best way to prevent plastic finding its way into our oceans is not to bring any plastic disposables with you at all; take reusable water bottles and bring any food in containers after removing the plastic wrappings at home.


As we all become more environmentally conscious, it makes sense to consider the sealife and other wildlife found on and near our beaches. For more information on these statistics, please visit: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch.


2. Remember the beach is an ecosystem


UK beaches may not be tropical, white sand paradises but that does not mean that they are not a popular habitat for wildlife and plantlife. A good tip for visiting the beach is to remember that you are visiting the home of other animals and to remain conscious of this during our visit.


There are many different species of plant life on our beaches and in our oceans that also contribute to the ecosystem; providing protection and, in some cases, nourishment for different species that call our beaches and oceans home.


It is a popular pastime of beach-goers to try to spot the different species on the sand and in the sea, and from seaweed to whales, there are nearly endless lists of marine life to keep our eyes out for.


However, if we do not remain environmentally conscious of these animals and plants then we could continue to see a dramatic downturn in the populations of sea life and marine plants. To find the full list of wildlife surrounding Britain's beaches, please visit: https://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/animal-habitats/marine



3. Wear environmentally friendly sunscreen


It is a fact that we all need to wear sunscreen when bathing in the rare sunshine of the UK summertime as it helps prevent our skin from absorbing dangerous UV radiation.


It is also good practice to ensure that we reapply sunscreen after taking a dip in the ocean, as sunscreen does not always stay on the skin when we are in the water, however, what most of us are not aware of is that most sunscreen brands contain chemicals that can damage the environment.


Such chemicals as Oxybenzone, Benzophenone-1 and 8, OD-PABA and Nano-Zinc Oxide, to name only a few, are present in sunscreen and when they wash off of our skin they become contributing factors of coral reef bleaching.


These chemicals can also impair the growth of green algae, damage the immune systems of Sea Urchins and can even decrease the fertility of fish. For more information on the effects sunscreen has on our environment, you can visit: https://www.oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/sunscreen-corals.html


There is a very simple way that we can all help to prevent these issues from increasing and that is by making the choice to purchase more natural and environmentally friendly sunscreens.


Mineral sunscreen is one of these and is made of only natural ingredients that will not harm marine life if washed off of skin while we swim, whilst still giving us the protection that we require to stay safe in the sun.


These environmentally safe sunscreens are becoming increasingly popular, not just in the UK, but around the world as more and more of us are attempting to contribute towards a more sustainable and healthy future for our planet. To find out more about the different mineral sunscreens available to you, please visit: https://www.peaceinthewild.co.uk


4. Keep your distance


Don’t forget that, with our beaches becoming increasingly popular tourist sites, more and more people are visiting these beautiful places throughout the year.


It is important to remember that, during the COVD-19 pandemic, we need to ensure we are keeping at least two meters apart from others who are not in our social bubbles.


There have been many recent news reports that show thousands of people crowding our beaches who are not adhering to the rules that help prevent the spread of the virus, and partially due to this, cases are beginning to rise again.


It is important that we remain conscious of this during our visits and do what we can to ensure we keep our distance from others. If you decide to wear a mask while out at the beach, please remember to take these with you and not leave them on the beach!


By Hannah Smith ©

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