Monday, June 30, 2014
About 75 million Americans will head to the beaches this year, and many will leave behind millions of pounds of refuse, much of it plastic. Meanwhile, more than 100 species of sea birds and 31 species of marine mammals are known to ingest marine plastic, which can float on or just below the surface for years. And all that mess comes together in huge “gyres” where hundreds of miles of garbage collect in a life-choking soup.
One local group has decided that taking some small steps locally – and reaching out globally – might have a big impact on ocean health.
Take Five (To Keep the Oceans Alive) is a social action campaign designed to enlist the Instagram and Facebook crowd. As founder Colleen Troy notes: “This is about more than liking and sharing; it's about noticing all the plastic and refuse around you. Take five pieces of other people's trash off the beach, and we promise, you'll feel great!” The group's goal is to have social media users worldwide post photos of the trash they picked up at the beach – and to reach a goal of 5 million pieces by Labor Day.
The effort is gaining ground, with followers throughout the U.S. and Australia. Troy – whose firm Touchpoint Communications launched the effort on Memorial Day – has recruited a team of students from local middle and high schools, and college to help spread the word on social media. Craig McLaughlin Design created a logo and decals. And local radio groups Apex and Clear Channel are providing airtime for public service announcements.
“Going into July Fourth weekend, we just want to remind people that if they see something, pick it up. It doesn't matter who dropped it, letting it drift into the ocean could truly kill,” said Troy.