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Marine Debris: 7 easy ways to help keep our water clean


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We all know that trash in the water is bad. And maybe you've seen the horrifying video of the green sea turtle with the plastic straw stuck in its nostril. If you love to be outdoors, you know how important it is to keep waterways clean and wildlife safe.

Maybe you’re already working hard to do your part in keeping trash out of the water, but COVID-19 restrictions have made it more difficult. Or maybe you’re not sure where to get started. That’s why the LiliKai team has compiled a few easy-to-implement tips for helping keep marine debris at bay, even in COVID times.

Beach Cleanup Day is Saturday, September 26, but you can help keep the beaches and waterways clean all year long! 

1. Dispose of your trash properly

Anything can become marine debris if we don’t dispose of it properly or if it goes into the water by accident. Going to the beach? Try bringing your lunch in reusable containers so that there’s no chance that your snack bag will blow away. Or get carried away by a seagull. 

If you do bring takeout or packaged snacks, limit the single-use utensils and make an effort to stuff your wrappers and containers immediately into a tote bag or trash bag. Pack out your trash if you encounter overflowing trash cans.

2. Refill your water bottle

This one is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. If you’re out and about, bring your own water in a refillable vessel. Bonus points for glass or stainless steel bottles!

3. Bring your shopping bags anyway

COVID-19 has made using your own shopping bags more difficult in some areas. If you can, bag your own groceries at the store. If you can’t, CleanWaterAction.org suggests that you put your unbagged items back in the cart after checking out, then bag them outside, or at your car.

4. Wear a reusable mask

According to the UN, single use masks are now a source of beach pollution. If you sew, it’s pretty easy to make your own masks. Or, you can score some really cool masks while supporting small businesses on Etsy.

5. Use your own utensils 

The next time you bring home Takeout Tuesday, use your own silverware.

6. Skip the car parade balloons 

Social distancing has made car parades and drive-by parties popular. If you’re celebrating, use eco-friendly streamers, recycled ribbons, or upcycled banners instead of the wildlife-strangling plastic-and-mylar inflatables.

7. Lather up with bar soap

The CDC says it’s okay to use it, so break out the bar soap for all of the handwashing you’re doing! Choose a soap that has a biodegradable paper wrapper, or look for loose, unwrapped bar soap.

Keep it up!

Water is life. If we all do just a little bit every day, we can keep our waterways clean and the wildlife safe.

See you out there!

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