The word Jalama brings to mind a beautiful, sandy beach and the sound of clear aquamarine waves sparkling in the sun as they play hide & seek with the sand. A wonderful place to spend a morning, an afternoon or a day, just relaxing; content to enjoy what nature has to offer for entertainment. Unfortunately this idyllic scene may become a thing of the past due to the amount of trash and debris that is infiltrating our oceans, beaches and coastlines.
The latest statistics from the Ocean Conservancy 2015 International Clean Up reveal some sad facts. Just under 4 million pounds of trash and debris were collected along 9,780 miles of US coastline and included: 118,973 glass bottles; 231,264 plastic bottles; 170,357 plastic bags and over one million cigarette butts among other items. The good news is that more than 200,000 people participated in the clean up effort here in the United States and the effort was met with an additional almost 600,000 individuals internationally.
The negative impact this trash has on our environment extends past the visual aesthetic to marine and coastal life. The biggest threat comes from abandoned or lost fishing gear (nets, lines, traps, buoys, etc.) due to entanglement which can be life threatening. Plastic bags have the second largest impact as sea turtles and other animals ‘eat’ plastic bags mistaking them for food. The Ocean Conservancy states “99% of all seabird species will be eating plastic by 2050 unless something is done to stem the tide.” A frightening statistic that will ultimately impact our food sources with plastics becoming a part of our diet as well.
As dire as this prediction is, proactive measures are being taken to change this. Explore Ecology is coordinating a California Coastal Clean Up Day this Saturday, September 17th from 9AM to 12PM for several Santa Barbara County beaches including Jalama Beach. If you are interested in participating at Jalama Beach you can call Chelsea at 736-4567 ext. 223 or visit http://lompoc.chambermaster.com/events/details/jalama-beach-clean-up-3754 for more information. You can also make a difference by making every day a coastal clean up day no matter where you are. Remember to enjoy the scene but keep it clean and hope to see you Saturday at the beach!