Beaches are an essential part of humans’ lives. In addition to the range of recreational activities, they can also play a role in mitigating climate change. Beaches protect residents living near the ocean by serving as a buffer against the high winds and waves of powerful storms and help drive economic activity important to nearby communities.

They also provide permanent habitats for various plants and animals. A lot of marine animals depend on the beach ecosystem. However, the naked eye can’t see many of them as they are millimeters small or buried in the sand. These are organisms that play an essential role in seawater filtration and nutrient recycling. Some depend on the beach environment as a nursery area for fish fry or nesting sites and rookeries for turtles and birds. Higher up on the marine food chain, the beaches are a vital feeding ground for birds and terrestrial wildlife.

Beach clean-ups are attractive opportunities to do large-scale rehabilitation work on our beaches. But we don’t have to wait for the next one to start cleaning up. Taking responsibility for our plastic trash is already a step in the right direction.