Clean Up on Aisle “Spring Break”

Sorry, this picture isn’t very aesthetically pleasing, but this is what many of our “beautiful getaways” have been looking like. A compilation of water bottles, beer cans, plastic wrappers and more decorate these natural places and fill the ocean just as well. We have started to see notoriously striking images that have been shared online of what popular beach spots look like at the end of the day on college spring break and it is quite frankly disgusting!

UMKC’s spring break begins in just a matter of days. Approximately half of all college students end up going to a sunny destination during their spring break at some point, commonly to one of these popular locations. If you and your friends are joining the large population of college students rushing to get a week of warm weather and all day fun, that’s great! I’m even going on my first spring break beach trip this year! Here’s the thing though, we can have the most fun week of the year and not have a care in the world, all without polluting the earth.

I promise being conscious of your waste won’t put a damper on your experience. Here are several simple ways to make sure that your vacation activities don’t put the beaches and ocean at harm.

  • Bring a reusable bag for trash, made just for beach and water activities.

  • If you don’t want to buy a special bag, fine, bring a normal trash bag with you. The thing is, just don’t leave your trash on the beach. Throw away your bag at a trashcan near you, or bring it back with you to where you’re staying. This really shouldn’t be too much to ask, but it’s people not doing this in the first place that has caused such an issue.

  • Use a glass, reusable water bottle. Get into the habit of this on a daily basis anyway.

  • Cut up those plastic rings that hold together the cans in your six packs.

  • Do not stand idly by when friends or even strangers leave trash around them. If you don’t feel comfortable confronting a stranger, be the bigger person and throw away their trash for them, but be sure to give them a long stare of disapproval in the process.

  • If you’re bringing food onto the beach, pack it in a reusable lunch bag. Always try to omit the use of plastic bags.

  • Once again, just pick up your trash.

It can sometimes be overwhelming to think about all of the damage already done to our planet. It may seem like your small actions aren’t going to make any difference, but I assure you letting yourself leave trash around certainly won’t help the problem either. The #trashtag challenge recently started getting attention on social media, so let’s keep this energy up. You can certainly influence those around you to be more respectful of the places they visit and a chain reaction is everything we need. Do not give up hope, do your own part and inspire those around you. Remember that if we don’t take better care of our Earth, there won’t be any more clean beaches to vacation to.