By: Sherry Lippiatt
Californians have seen huge amounts of rain these past two weeks, thanks to a series of storms moving through the region. We desperately need the rain here, but not the marine debris that comes with it. Major rainstorms inevitably lead to runoff, which can mobilize and turn upstream litter into marine debris downstream.
Sights such as this are common after major winter storms in California:
So what can we do? For starters, the easiest thing is to continue to reduce, reuse, and recycle to cut off debris at the source. If wet or windy weather is in the forecast, try to schedule a neighborhood cleanup before the storm, and consider not leaving your full garbage, recycling, or compost bins on the street until the weather has passed.
The upside is that some local efforts to intercept and filter out solid debris in runoff have been effective. As you might have read in a previous blog, a recent NOAA study showed that reducing marine debris on Southern California beaches can prevent financial loss and provide economic benefits to residents. Preventing litter from becoming marine debris is good news for our beaches and our wallets!