What are the green behaviors to follow at the beach and on the shore? Here are 12 rules to be environmentally conscious even while on vacation!
What green behaviors should you adopt at the beach to be environmentally conscious even while on vacation? According to Legambiente’s Beach Litter 2023 initiative, which monitored the amount of litter on 38 Italian beaches, over 37,000 pieces of trash were counted in May alone.
Over 70% of the waste collected on these beaches is composed of plastic and other synthetic polymers, materials that can take anywhere from a hundred to a thousand years to decompose in nature! Topping the list of the most frequent types of waste found on Italian beaches are plastic fragments (about 10% of the total waste); followed by caps and lids (over 8% of the total); cigarette butts (about 6% of the total); and plastic cotton swabs (4% of the total).
The “Beach Litter” initiative also includes an educational activity on how to keep the beaches clean and the importance of marine and coastal biodiversity. The aim is to monitor the waste left on our coastlines in the hope that talking about it can bring change.
So what can we do “in our small way”? Here are twelve tips to be environmentally conscious at the beach and on the shore.
Green Behaviors at the Beach and on the Shore: 12 Tips
Respect recycling guidelines even on the beach. If you do it at home, why not do it on vacation? Remember to bring bags to collect and separate waste. If the beach lacks waste bins, the rule is to carry your waste with you. An interesting idea might be to organize “clean walking” outings with friends and family. While walking along the shoreline, use appropriate grabbers (and consider wearing gloves) to collect trash you find along the way. Biodegradable gloves and bags are available for maximum environmental respect.
2. Natural Beach Towels
Use beach towels made of cotton or natural bamboo fibers. Avoid plastic mats or synthetic materials. Indeed, several brands now offer special “environmentally friendly” lines.
Choose swimwear made from recycled materials or handmade options. When washing them, do it by hand using eco-friendly, gentle detergents.
4. Organic Sunscreen
Purchase sunscreens without oxybenzone and with mineral-based filters. Evidently, recent studies have shown that oxybenzone is a hazardous substance that contributes to coral reef destruction.
5. Biodegradable Shampoo and Shower Gel
Use biodegradable products not only at the beach but also for everyday use to reduce marine pollution.
6. Beach Bags
Opt for cotton mesh or canvas beach bags. Make sure to test their durability before leaving, especially if you’re like me and tend to carry a lot.
7. Pack Your Lunch
If you enjoy having lunch by the sea, use reusable and plastic-free cutlery and dishes. For example for lunch containers and water bottles, you can easily find bamboo or aluminum options in stores.
8. Sustainable Toys
If you want your children to do something different from building sandcastles, you can buy eco-friendly toys made of wood or recycled materials.
Perhaps you’re not aware, but the beach and the sea are ecosystems that must be preserved and protected. Taking home “souvenirs” not only disrupts these ecosystems (imagine if everyone did it), but it’s also illegal according to Article 1162 of the Navigation Code, not to mention what the Cassation Court has ruled in this regard.
10. No Bonfires
A bonfire may be beautiful and romantic, but it’s also very dangerous. If you can’t control the flames, they could take over and irreparably damage marine biodiversity, not to mention the serious harm they could cause to people.
11. No Smoking on the Beach
Avoid lighting up on the beach to reduce air pollution, discourage smoking, including passive smoking, improve the well-being of everyone, and reduce waste (those famous 6% of beach waste, i.e., cigarette butts).
12. Walk or bike to the beach
Finally, an important piece of advice. You’re on vacation, so arrive at the beach in a relaxed manner. Why the rush? So, walk or bike to the beach, and the environment will thank you, as sustainable mobility is essential.
These are just some green ideas to ensure that your beach vacation or day at the beach is environmentally friendly!
Original article written by Monica Palazzi
Cover photo: A beach at sunset Source: Canva Pro