OPEN LINE “Get Your Green On” Article for September 21, 2011

by Christine Wied

“Think globally, act locally” was evident last Saturday at the 27th. annual Coastal Clean Up Day, the kick-off for Coast Weeks September 17 through October 9, a celebration of our coastal and water resources throughout the country. Over 63,000 volunteers in California alone picked up nearly 600,000 pounds of trash and recyclable materials from coastal and inland waterway sites in three hours. Over 600 of those volunteers were right here in the five locations in Ventura making a difference one piece of trash at a time. There were the usual cigarette butts, plastic bags, bottles, cans, food wrappers and fishing lines. Although all the data has yet to be tabulated, participants were asked to pay attention and collect information on the types of materials picked up to serve as a baseline for the next couple of years. After the devastating tsunami in Japan this year, tracking is being done to see what type and how much material from that event will show up on our western shores.

Our oceans are dynamic and global. Recently scientists from the TARA Foundation reported findings of plastic pollution in Antarctic waters.  Their 118-foot research vessel found between 956 and 42,826 pieces per kilometer squared of plastic at each of their surface sampling stations. Among other topics, they are investigating the effects of plastic pollution on marine birds, mammals and fish that ingest small bits of plastic or get entangled in large ones. Further analysis is being done to understand the human health risks involved with these plastics, plastic additives and toxins that absorb into the plastic and what implications they have on the food chain.

We don’t have to wait until a Coastal Clean Up day to do our part in making sure the 4.5 pounds of trash for which each of us is responsible daily goes into a trash, recycling or compost receptacle. When walking at the beach or around town, if you see litter, pick it up. You are helping to save the environment, especially our oceans. Thanks to everyone who came out and participated in Coastal Clean Up Day.  Wouldn’t it be a celebration if we had a Coastal Clean Up Day and there was no trash to pick up!

Contact:  Christine Wied, cwied@cityofventura.net

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