Let’s Keep Our Beaches Clean

Image from http://smithratliff.com/2012/07/23/montauk-new-york-beaches-lobster-rolls/

This should not be a news flash, folks: green is in, and its popularity is growing faster than you can say “solar panel.” Between the drought in California and the polar ice sheet melting, it’s hard to ignore environmentalism these days (just look at this photo of a polar bear and try to not join the movement. Difficult right?).

Image from http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/polar-bear-clings-tight-iceberg-882963

Image from http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/polar-bear-clings-tight-iceberg-882963

It is time we humans wake up and realize how much we damage our own planet during our daily lives. While California or the Arctic ice sheet might seem too far away to relate to or worry about (distance shouldn’t be a factor, but people naturally worry about issues closer to home than those further away #thankyouscience), it’s time that the East End, locals and visitors alike, take action to protect and preserve the very thing that we are most famous for: the beach.

One of the largest pollution problems our beaches face is the onset of the Mylar balloon. The natural habitat for these bad boys is literally anywhere inside, but lately the popularity of releasing balloons into the air for various celebratory circumstances is growing, and that is bad news for both the beaches and marine life. Recently, a cohort of Mylar balloons from Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown, NY (approximately 176 miles driving distance from Montauk) found their way to the beaches in Montauk.

Photo by Jane Behan Bimson

Photo by Jane Behan Bimson | EH Star

In a Facebook post from May 31st, Jane Behan Bimson of Montauk wrote that she has collected and discarded nearly 100 balloons from the beaches in Montauk, including those of Orange Regional Medical Center. This might not be as apparent as one might think, but when we release balloons into the air, it is equivalent to throwing an empty water bottle directly onto the ground.  What goes up must come back down right?

With Summer Season 2015 upon us, its time we take action to protect the beaches that we love, cherish, and enjoy. Let’s be better than Orange Regional Medical Center. Mother Nature has given us a beautiful gift, but it is up to us to preserve that gift and keep a watchful eye over the beach and the marine life that inhabits it.

If you want to get involved, the Montauk Beach Property Owners Association (MBPOA) is hosting several beach clean-ups throughout the summer. If you can’t make the first clean up yesterday at Webster Beach, but still want to be involved, the rest of the clean-up dates are July 11th, August 15th, and September 5th.

Image from http://www.mbpoa.com/events

Image from http://www.mbpoa.com/events

So, now that you are armed with this information, the next time you see a balloon on the beach, grab it (and don’t release it in the first place)! Otherwise, an unsuspecting sea turtle might mistake the balloon for a jellyfish as a delicious (but fatal) afternoon snack.