Get ready because on Sun., Sept. 8 Sonoma State University will be hosting a beach cleanup and bonfire at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach from 9:00a.m.-7:00p.m. Students will spend the day picking up waste along San Francisco’s coast and after a long day’s work, will wind down with a bonfire and s’mores at night.
Students are already getting excited and ready for this event, knowing that they can make an actual change, one beach clean up at a time. Fourth year student Sami Clark has her calendar marked and is prepared to make a difference.
“It is a great way to get involved and act to make a change. My friends and I are excited to go out and help our environment in any way we can,” said Clark. “Personally, I am a huge advocate for sea life and I believe that a beach clean up is the perfect way to fight for life that can’t fight for itself.”
According to Jenny Howard at National Geographic, oceans cover 70% of Earth’s surface but a vast majority of those oceans are polluted with a lot of different kinds of waste. Plastic pollution is commonly found on beaches, making this event a great way to avoid more pollution from entering the ocean from the shores.
“A huge culprit is single-use plastics, used once before tossed into the trash or directly into the ocean,” said Howard, “These single-use items are accidentally consumed by many marine mammals… Dying marine mammals, washing up on shore, also contain plastic inside their stomachs.”
Beach goers who purposely or accidentally leave plastic water bottles, aluminum waste, and other forms of trash, put sea life at risk and cause choking hazards, especially for sea turtles. This type of event has become a global phenomenon and has allowed people to start being more considerate when occupying beaches. The harsh reality of this has also been a catalyst in creating more beach clean up days such as this one hosted by Sonoma State University.
In a study done at Queensland University in Australia, Qamar Schuyler researched the effects of plastic waste especially on sea turtles.
“The results indicate that approximately 52 percent of turtles world-wide have eaten debris” said Shuyler, “Australia and North America are lucky to host a number of turtle species, but we also therefore have a responsibility to look after our endangered wildlife.”
Another Sonoma State Student and advocate for sea life, Mariah Cruz, has conducted many of her own beach clean ups but is excited to be a part of the university’s on Sept. 8th.
“I believe that it’s a lot of people doing little things that make a big difference. Individually no one person can change the world, but the more people that come together for the same thing, can do a lot more than one would think.” said Cruz. “I love sea turtles and seeing the negative effects of plastic waste drives me to want to partake in the most preventative actions I can.”
Along with cleaning the beaches as a group, Sonoma State students will also be able to enjoy the ocean all day long, eventually ending their long day with a beach bonfire and s’mores provided by the university. This allows students the opportunity to bond with one another and meet new people, giving them yet another way to get involved and get involved in an Earth-friendly way.
This event is geared towards those who love the environment, enjoy the beach, or are just looking to meet people with the same passions and interests as themselves.
“I thought it was really amazing that Sonoma State offers ‘Days of Service’ such as this beach clean-up because it gives us all the opportunity to leave our own mark on this Earth, a positive one.” said Clark.