Long, sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water for as long as the eye can reach – this is how we expect beaches to look like. Nearly untouched.
But considering all the, sometimes unfortunately reckless, tourists that just leave their plastic lunchbox and their water bottle on the beach next to their cigarette buns after a long day of tanning, and the people that litter everywhere around the world, especially close to some type of water, this is not the reality anymore.
Animals in the ocean get tangled up in rubbish, that gets flushed into the ocean, or they get killed while mistaking it for food while the rubbish on the land attracts mosquitos to bread and spread diseases.
Exactly based on this problem, a few guys from New Zealand decided in 2008 that they wanted to build a charity to make the beaches clean again – Sustainable Coastlines.
In 2011, out of this idea, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii was founded, which is Sustainable Coastlines New Zealand‘s partner charity.
Both teams are working together with volunteers and interns to clean up the beaches.
Since the foundation of their charity, Sustainable Coastlines in New Zealand has been able to collect over 1,000,000 litres of rubbish all around coastlines in their beautiful country. For Sam Judd, one of the founders of the charity, it is about “creating that line of what’s not okay”, as he told the New Zealand Herald. Because, as he puts it:
Littering needs to become as socially unacceptable as drunk driving or family violence. It’s poisonous.
The concept of the whole thing is easy. Under the name Love your Coast, the group organises different Clean-up events. Anyone can go on their website, choose the place they want to help and sign up. What if there’s no event near you? No problem! Love your Coast offers the great opportunity to just create your own event near you, where everyone can sign up. Their website provides great planning material and all the things you need to promote your event around your area. The Love your Coast Website combines both charities, New Zealand and Hawaii.
How does one of those events work? On Hawaii’s island of Oahu, where the beach cleaning became a regular monthly event, the teams are supported by local farmers, who supply the volunteers with food, but also by famous stars like Jack Johnson, who’s a Hawaiian himself and beside his singing career a passionate surfer. The volunteers sleep in tents on the beach and spread out all around the coast in small groups in the mornings to pick up every piece of rubbish they can find – from cigarette buns to car tires, everything can be found.
Beside all the cleaning up, Sustainable Coastlines also plants trees for the environment and organizes educational presentations in schools or communities to raise the awareness of pollution, the problems it causes and the way we, as people, can prevent it from happening.
Even though the ideal goal of Sustainable Coastlines would be to ban plastic from this world completely, they are doing the best job possible to keep the beautiful coasts of this planet as clean as possible.