For anyone laying out in the sun on the beach this summer, it is important to pick up trash that belongs to them because you never know who or what suffers from it.
The temperature is on the rise and so is the number of people hitting South Mississippi beaches. There is nothing wrong with walking away with a tan, but be sure to take your trash with you or at least put it where it belongs.
Sand Beach Department workers say this time of year they are especially busy at the beach hot spots in our area. Sand Beach Director Charles Loftis said, “All of the high use areas are in Biloxi and Gulfport. There are certain areas in the other two cities, but mainly in Biloxi. We have a high influx of visitors.”
There’s an estimated three to five tons of trash picked on the Coast on a weekly basis. This trash and debris doesn’t just affect tourism, it can also affect local marine life as well. Behavior Ecologist Dr. Mystera Samuelson said, “That includes ingesting debris that would be floating around. Sometimes, it looks a lot like their prey. For example, sea turtles do tend to eat plastic bags and things like that. They look a lot like jellyfish.”
Researchers with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies have seen their fair share of animals who have suffered because of debris and trash left on the beaches. “A while ago, we did have a sea turtle with plastic embedded for example. It does happen and we do see entanglements and things like that,” said Dr. Samuelson.
To avoid these situations from happening, the solution is quite simple. When you see trash: “Just pick it up. We are all responsible for our environment. We want to make sure our beaches are beautiful. It’s also good for the economy. People don’t want to come hang out on a dirty beach. We want the beaches to look nice so people would want to come and spend money on the Gulf Coast,” said Dr. Samuelson.