Representatives from the Long Island Sound Study, Connecticut Sea Grant and Mystic Aquarium campers teamed up to pick up trash at Bluff Point Park in Groton Wednesday.
It’s a kickoff to the social media campaign, Please #DontTrashLISound that runs from Aug. 2 to Sept. 14. The several groups involved want to draw attention to single-use plastics and the hazards they pose to the Long Island Sound’s wildlife, while encouraging people to change their habits.
“People throw bad thing in nature and it’s not good for our ecosystem and all the sea life,” said 8-year-old Charlotte Squires while picking up trash with her camp group.
Around 700 species of marine animals have reportedly eaten or have become entangled in plastic, according to statistics from the campaign. There are about 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean.
“We’re looking for trash to help the animals not get sick in the ocean,” said 6-year-old Athena Costick about her role Wednesday.
“There are alternatives – you can use paper straws, you can use metal straws, there’s even a restaurant in England that’s using pasta as a straw,” said Judy Preston, CT Outreach Coordinator for the Long Island Sound Study. She’s also the Long Island Sound Outreach Coordinator for the Connecticut Sea Grant.
Preston said turtles can mistake plastic bags for a jellyfish. And it's not just wildlife that suffers - plastic pollution can break into small pieces and eventually end up in the human food chain.
To help the cause, find a reusable alternative to plastic bags, use something other than a disposable plastic water bottle - there’s even a beeswax wrap as a substitute for plastic wrap for food.
The campaign also includes the distribution of stickers. People are encouraged to use them on their reusable items, take pictures and share with the hashtags #DontTrashLISound and #LISound.
This is the second social media campaign for the Long Island Sound Study and its partners. Last year more than 80,000 people participated.
“I’m hoping that we get a lot of trash and make sure this beach is really clean,” said Charlotte Preuss, a 10-year-old camper.
The International Coastal Cleanup is on Sept. 15, one day after the campaign ends.