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Pollution Kills Coastal Wildlife

 

Today, our coastal waters along New Jersey, New York and nearby coastal states face a tremendous threat due to the human species. That threat is man-made or people pollution.

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Let’s face it. Whales, dolphins, seals, sea turtles and other coastal species do not create pollution. There is only one species that pollutes our coastal waters and that is the human species.

For a small state, New Jersey has many people. The coastal state of New Jersey has an estimated population for 2019 at 8.92 million, which makes it the 11th most populous state in the country, despite being ranked 47th in terms of size. In addition, New Jersey borders two big cities: New York City (with 8.6 million people, the largest city in the United States) and Philadelphia (with 1.5 million people, the 6th largest city in the United States).

With all these people, comes pollution. Pollution from people (residents, tourists or workers) in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania can come from many different sources:

  • Littering

  • Sewage

  • Industrial Waste

  • Oil Spills from ships, boats, cars and trucks

  • Toxic chemicals

  • Air Pollution

  • Suburban, Urban and Agriculture runoff

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The majority of this pollution has its origins on land. Even though you might live or work miles from a coastline, you may still be polluting our coastal waters.

Up to 85% of trash in the ocean is from land-based sources, including individuals (especially plastic pollution), and improper waste management/infrastructure from faulty sewage systems. Only 20% is the result of ocean-based sources, such as the fishing, shipping, and cruise ship industries.

According to a study done by the University of Georgia, 18 billion pounds of plastic trash winds up in our oceans each year. To put that in perspective, it’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic.

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How to Reduce Your Impact to the Coast:

Although the problem of people pollution can seem overwhelming, there are some simple things you can do every day to minimize your impact to the coast. 

  • Cut apart six-pack plastic soda can rings. If left uncut in a trashcan, they can make their way to estuaries and coastal waters to trap wildlife.

  • Reduce the amount of plastics you use everyday in your home and place of work. There are alternatives to plastic products showing up more and more.

  • Reduce the pesticides and herbicides you use in your yard, as those toxins affect the waterways via run-off when it rains or when snow melts

  • Stop using single-use plastic bags! Bring your own reusable shopping bags whenever you shop.

  • Be sure to properly dispose of fishing lines and lures, as animals can mistake them for food if they end up in the water.

  • Try not to use helium balloons, since both the balloons and their accompanying strings often end up in the water.

  • Select reusable items whenever possible and reuse old items.

  • Recycle everything. More and more items can be recycled if you take advantage of proper recycling stations and centers.

  • Bring your own reusable cup or bottle to a store when you buy coffee, tea, soda or another beverage.

  • Carry a reusable water bottle to work and school.

  • Choose a product that has less packaging over those that are individually wrapped. Better yet, can you buy it in bulk?

  • Go vegan! Meat is not environmentally friendly. Consuming it is actually one of the worst things that you can do for the protection of our planet. Meat production is wasteful and causes enormous amounts of pollution (from water pollution to air pollution), and the industry is also one of the biggest causes of climate change from increased methane to deforestation to fertilizer production. Animal agriculture is responsible for at least 1318% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions globally. Adopting a vegan diet is more effective than switching to a “greener” car in the fight against climate change. The meat industry also takes lots of plants to raise farmed animals. It can take up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of beef! All that plant food could be used much more efficiently if people just ate plants directly.