Every time it rains, litter on land finds its way into our waterways. Storm drains along the Grand Strand empty directly into the ocean, so any trash swept up in storm water can wash up on the beach. It is not just Grand strand trash that ends up on our beaches. Storm drains in Pee Dee cities, like Florence. Lead directly to streams and rivers, which eventually lead to the ocean.
All litter is an unsightly nuisance, but it is the plastic that is a particular problem for wildlife. Sarah Rogers, a water resources agent with Clemson Extension says “plastics never completely go away, they just continue to break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Once plastics become micro plastics, they are nearly impossible to remove.”
Birds and sea creatures can become entangled in larger pieces of plastic, while the smaller pieces can be mistaken for food. Evidence of the plastic problem is everywhere.
“We have seen signs of that here in South Carolina, some of our local oyster populations have been found with traces of micro plastics in them.” Sarah Rogers.
To solve this problem, we need to be more responsible with our trash. Recycle and make sure litter does not wash away with rain water.
We should also reduce our dependence on disposable items. Instead of buying a plastic water bottle every day, use a reusable water bottle. Take reusable shopping bags to the store to avoid using plastic bags.
South Carolina’s largest one day volunteer waterway cleanup event is coming up on September 21st. To learn more about the Beach Sweep, River Sweep, click on these links:
Beach cleanup sites:
River cleanup sites: