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  • Writer's pictureJace Shoemaker-Galloway

National Beach Day

Let’s talk trash, shall we? A special day of the year is here and people are ready to celebrate by talkin’ trash! As the dog days of summer wind down, it’s time to head to your nearest beach. Aug. 30 is National Beach Day (NBD)!

2015 marks the first annual National Beach Day, created by animal lover and author, Colleen Paige. In an interview, Paige said she created the event to not only celebrate the beauty of beaches near and far, but to also raise awareness about the impact our garbage has on wildlife and creatures of the sea. Years ago, Paige was eating lunch on the beach when she saw a baby pelican in distress. The bird had fishing line wrapped around its wing and beak and was unable to fly or walk. After contacting a local wildlife organization, they were able to rescue the baby Pelican but the scenario left an indelible mark on Paige and she was determined to do something about it.

“I created National Beach Day to inspire the celebration of such a magical place and to help preserve and protect the wonderful animals that live there. When you're at the beach, it's one thing to leave your footprint.... its another thing to leave your trash".

Each year, birds, dolphins, whales, turtles, seals and other wildlife are injured or die from our trash. These amazing creatures endure immense suffering after ingesting or getting entangled in our fishing lines, trash bags, fishing hooks, straws, cans, balloons and plastic that we toss out without much thought. Trash can be toxic to wildlife.

Many of us are familiar with Winter’s tragic tale, the three-month-old bottle-nose dolphin found stranded in Florida, entangled in a trap line, which cut off her circulation to her tail flukes. Despite valiant efforts to save her tail, it could not be saved and Winter was in serious danger. How could a dolphin survive without her tail? But some amazing humans came to her rescue and after a few tries, she was fitted with an ingenious prosthetic tail, which allowed her to swim like a dolphin should. While her life-threatening injuries were caused by human garbage, Winter continues to be an inspiration to many around the world.

According to the United Nations, marine debris affects every country and every ocean and needs to be addressed. 270 species are affected by entanglement or ingestion of trash. 270 species! Marine trash not only impacts the marine mammals, but those toxic substances released by that plastic waste in our oceans may very well impact human health as well.

The next time you visit a beach, have a ball but please remember to properly dispose of all your trash. And if you see someone else’s garbage, pick it up. Your effort could very well save a life!

Aug. 30 is also National Toasted Marshmallow Day and Frankenstein Day.

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