Tips to help keep our shorelines clean for summer water activities

Posted at 6:30 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 18:30:12-04

As beach season is in full swing, askHRgreen reminds residents and visitors of the importance of keeping our shorelines clean.

What we do at home and at play impact coastal resources and whether our waters stay open for swimming, boating, and other fun activities.

The Virginia Department of Health monitors water bacteria levels during the summer months at beaches in order to keep the public safe from pet and wildlife waste, sewage discharge from boats, sanitary sewer overflows and backed-up septic systems.

Here’s a list of ways residents and visitors can help keep shoreline waters clean.

  • Homework– Help reduce bacteria pollution in your local waterways by scooping the poop; not feeding geese and ducks; and preventing sewer overflows by keeping wipes, food and grease out of your toilets and drains.
  • Think Before You Pack – Instead of individually-packaged items or plastic sandwich bags, pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers. Small plastic food packaging items (like straws and wrappers) can easily be carried away on a breezy beach day, so avoid those altogether. And, “just say no” to plastic bags and Styrofoam cups and coolers and opt for reusable cloth bags and hard or soft insulated coolers for toting to the beach.
  • Carpool – A day at the beach is more fun with friends. Just be sure to carpool to get there, avoiding unnecessary emissions.
  • Fill ‘er Up Before You Go – Opt for a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water and fill it up from the tap before leaving home.
  • Get Involved – Consider participating in an organized beach cleanup event, like Clean the Bay Day or the Great American Cleanup. Or, organize your own at your favorite beach or park.
  • Leave No Trace Behind – At the end of your day at the beach, make sure you take all of your belongings with you – including your trash and recyclables to be disposed of properly. Always ensure no litter is left behind.