Plastic pollution is suffocating our ocean and the many animals that call it home. Researchers estimate there are now over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean with the number continuing to grow every day. This pollution is impacting our marine ecosystems, wildlife such as seabirds, dolphins, fish, and turtles, and plastic fragments are even displacing plankton at the base of the food chain. So what’s the best way to combat this global epidemic facing our ocean? It’s simple: we need to stop the problem at its source! The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program does just that. One restaurant, one customer at a time, increases awareness, drives change in behavior and ultimately creates scalable impact to reduce our plastic (and water!) footprint.
Did you know that cigarette butts are the number one item consistently found at beach cleanups? Taking decades to decompose, these tiny items contain plastic, leach harmful toxins that concentrate in the environment, and present dangers to wildlife, children and pets when accidentally consumed.
The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) supported by Emergen-C Blue is the Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run, water testing, education and advocacy program. Our chapters use this program to alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality problems and to work toward solutions. The BWTF has demonstrated success by identifying problems with beach and coastal water pollution, raising public awareness of these incidents and working collaboratively with local stakeholders to find and implement pollution solutions.
In August 2017, the Portland Chapter launched the DitchTheStrawPDX program in the Portland-Metro area. The mission of the program was to assist businesses and individuals in reducing plastic straw usage in the city. We provided support to these businesses who agree to go plastic straw free for an entire month as a pilot program, helping them to outreach to their staff and customers why putting a straw on request policy into action is both effective and feasible. Additionally, we provided support for reusable and paper straw alternatives for instances in which straws are necessary.