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Attention Parents: This CZ-Tip is for the kids, so hand the reins of the computer or mobile device over to them. And don’t fret about the screen time—it’s very educational and maybe even inspirational enough to motivate your kids to get outside…
Are you a young person who loves everything about the coast—the sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore, the smell of the briny sea air, and the feel of the sand in your hands or beneath your toes? Do you enjoy navigating in a boat through marshes and bays or cruising out in the great blue ocean? Have you ever spent the day searching for interesting critters in a rocky tidepool, digging for crabs and clams on a tidal flat, or spotting interesting birds along the water’s edge? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then read on…
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is looking for the next generation of kids like you to help protect the coast. The following tip describes simple ways to help protect coastal water quality, fish and wildlife, and more.
Swimming, boating, fishing, digging clams, sightseeing, and healthy coastal habitats all depend on clean water. But many typical daily activities contaminate the coast. Pollutants—such as oil from cars, road salt, fertilizer, animal waste (aka dog poop), and trash—can be carried by rainfall and snow melt to the closest river, harbor, or ocean, which can harm wildlife and make the water unhealthy for people too. Here are a few tips to help reduce this runoff pollution:
Trash in the ocean, otherwise known as marine debris, is a big problem. Gigantic masses of trash have been found swirling around our waters—in fact, the 5 Gyres website says that one mass of trash in the North Pacific spans an area roughly twice the size of the United States! This trash has made its way to the ocean and coast by being blown out of trash cans, washed through storm drains, littered by people, and dumped off boats, and it can remain floating in the ocean for hundreds of years. Marine debris is not only ugly, it can be dangerous. Sea bird, seals, and other animals can be choked, starved, or poisoned when they mistake plastic bags and other trash for food. People can get injured when they step on pieces of glass, wood, or metal. Boaters can become stranded when propellers are jammed with fishing line. Here are a few suggestions to help keep trash out of the ocean:
From lush salt marshes to sandy dunes to rocky shores, the habitats along the Massachusetts coast provide plants and animals with food, shelter, and other requirements for survival. They also serve important functions for people, from providing recreational activities to filtering pollutants and reducing storm damage on the coast. You can help protect coastal habitats by following these guidelines:
Typically, when we light and heat homes and schools and drive in buses or cars, we are burning fossil fuels—gasoline, oil, coal, and natural gas. When these fuels burn, they release carbon dioxide to the Earth’s atmosphere, which causes what is called “climate change.” One major coastal impact of climate change is rising temperatures leading to melting ice caps, causing sea levels to rise and flood low areas. To learn the details of this and other climate change impacts, see NASA’s Climate Kids. To take action yourself and help reverse the trend: