Profile: Surfrider Foundation

Protecting the ocean, waves & beaches

Thirty years ago a group of surfers from Malibu, California, were concerned about the health risks associated with environmental threats posed by escalating coastal development at their favorite surf spot. They took action. Not even they could have envisioned the history they were making when they succeeded in protecting their beloved surf spot.
Since our inception in 1984, the Surfrider Foundation has evolved into one of the largest non-profit grassroots organizations dedicated to protection of the ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.
Today, we are measurably stronger, with more force and movement than ever before. We have 84 chapters, plus 30 high school and college clubs, and more than 250,000 supporters, volunteers and activists around the country. We are working on about 100 different campaigns in four core areas: beach access, clean, coastal preservation (coastal development) and protection. Armed with a model to defend the coast, we have achieved more than 300 coastal victories (and counting) since 2006.
With times of uncertainty, it hasn’t been easy. There’s still a lot of work to be done. Our work is critical. And, our long-term success and growth is a tribute to our founders’ vision: that taking on an environmental battle may not be easy, but with constant pressure, endlessly applied, it can, and will, be won. The key to this is what makes our organization unique.

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NoteStreams By Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider’s Campaign to Remove Nuclear Waste from San Onofre FAQ

The Surfrider Foundation is opposed to permanent or long-term storage of radioactive waste at the recently deactivated San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) due to its proximity to the coastline, susceptibility to geological instability and location within a densely populated area. Surfrider is advocating to remove the waste as quickly as possible.
Surfrider

Category: Sustainability

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Elegy for the Gulf: Seven Years After Deepwater Horizon

When I was a little girl, I spent my summers in Gulf Shores, Alabama. My family has visited the white sugar sand of the Gulf Coast for generations.
That was before the Deepwater Horizon, before I walked along the oiled beaches of Fort Pickens, Florida, and before I could even begin to imagine the ecological and economic devastation of a massive oil spill.
Post by Holly Parker
Surfrider Foundation

Category: Social Awareness

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Decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station: What Happens Now?

"It’s hard to think of a worse place to store radioactive waste than feet from the beach at San Onofre, which is in the proximity of millions of people, one of the state’s most popular state parks, and home to some of California’s best surfing areas," said Dr. Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation.
Surfrider

Category: Sustainability

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Long Live Oregon Beaches: Celebrating 50 Years of Public Beaches

With this new year comes at least one significant political outcome “we the people” in Oregon can actually celebrate, it’s the 50th Anniversary of the passage of Oregon’s Beach Bill! This landmark legislation guarantees access and makes public Oregon’s 362 miles of beaches and the movement to pass this legislation forever made beaches a birthright for Oregonians and visitors from around the world.
Surfrider

Category: Sustainability

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Plastic Microfibers, Dirty Laundry, and the Next Big Threat to Our Ocean

There's a lot more to lint than what's in the trap, and it may be hurting our oceans.
Surfrider

Category: Nature

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Taking Back the Coast in 2016

Stories of fighting bad projects that threaten our coasts and ocean.
Surfrider

Category: Nature

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Activist Spotlight: Someone Had to Do Something

In the summer of 2010, my beach in Florida was impacted by the BP Gulf disaster. It was to the tipping point where "someone had to do something."

Category: Nature

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Keeping Plastic Straws at Bay (and out of the Bay)

Plastic straws are a major source of litter and marine plastic pollution, and in the last few years, have been one of the most commonly found types of litter picked up along California beaches on annual Coastal Cleanup Days.

Category: Nature

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Public Beach Poached for Private Privilege?

The heart of California’s Coastal Act is its requirement that development not interfere with the public’s right to access the beach. Yet, this right is increasingly at risk as private landowners seek to shore up their own properties by building seawalls, revetments, and other structures on top of publicly owned beaches. The result is a loss of beach access statewide that will only get worse as sea levels are predicted to rise. A case in point is Broad Beach in Malibu.

Category: Social Awareness

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The Golden Age of Coastal Mapping

This week Surfrider Foundation and its partners released the Northeast Coastal Recreation Use Study. The study documents the enormous popularity of activities such as beach going, surfing, and wildlife viewing, as well as the major economic benefits they provide.

Category: Nature

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I am El Niño

In recent weeks, the news has been full of stories predicting one of the strongest El Niño’s on record. The last two very strong El Niño events (1982-83 and 1997-98) affected the weather globally and brought strong storms to California, which resulted in high amounts of rain and snow and big surf along the coast. This extreme weather can have serious consequences on our coasts.

Category: Nature

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Surfrider Protecting Our Ocean From Desal

California’s historic drought and general thirst for water has led state and local officials to seek alternative sources of fresh water. One of the proposed alternatives is seawater desalination (or “desal”), which removes salt and minerals from ocean water to produce suitable drinking water. Recently Surfrider Foundation noticed that proposals for desal projects have picked up particular momentum in the Monterey Bay area in California, and has been engaging to ensure the projects are carried out only as absolutely necessary and in a way that minimizes environmental impacts.

Category: Nature

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Sign-the-Surfboard Campaign Launches in Miami!

Our Sign-the-Surfboard campaign is an active step to demonstrate the coastal recreation industry’s opposition to offshore drilling and seismic testing in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Coastal recreation and tourism are major economic drivers for our communities and the nation as a whole. And the expansion of offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico would pose a serious threat to these industries by threatening our natural resources, local economies, and way of life.

Category: Nature

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Water Quality Month: Reduce Your Water Footprint

It’s simple. What happens onshore affects water quality downstream at our beaches and the health of our ocean. Through our Clean Water Initiative, Surfrider takes an integrated, watershed-based approach to protect local water supplies and prevent pollution from reaching our ocean, waves and beaches. We all can make an impact—even through what we eat—to make a difference to conserve the precious commodity of water.

Category: Nature

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Surfrider Moves to Intervene in a Lawsuit Protecting Beach Access in Maine

As part of a larger campaign to promote public beach access, the Surfrider Foundation Maine Chapter develops educational programs and engagement opportunities to help Maine residents and visitors understand and protect their beach access rights. The Chapter also engages in strategic litigation to protect those beach access rights, on an as-needed basis. Towards this goal, on July 10, 2015, Surfrider Foundation, on behalf of its Maine Chapter, filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by property owners on Crowley Island, the Swans (“Plaintiffs”), against neighboring property owners who have attempted to cut off generations of public beach access to Crowley Island Beach. Crowley Island is in the village of Corea, just north of Acadia National Park.

Category: Nature

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Chasing the Prize: U.S. Ocean Policy Turns Five

Let's face it; we're a nation obsessed with the spectacular. Whether it's entertainment, sports, or public policy, we tend to celebrate brazen (and fleeting) success over meaningful accomplishment. For this reason, I’m expecting the fifth year anniversary of our National Ocean Policy to be a muted affair. No jets flying over the capital. No parades in the streets. But that’s okay, because this isn’t about ephemeral success. It’s about something far more important: making sure we preserve our country’s coasts and ocean for generations to come.

Category: Nature

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Surfers & Turtles Like FL's Natural Beaches

From Melbourne Beach down to Sebastian Inlet, the southern fifteen miles of Brevard County’s coast has always been a haven for surfers. The water always seemed a little clearer, the waves a little snappier, and the relative sparseness of development made for ‘’wilder’’ beaches. And of course there was the Sebastian Inlet itself, home to the best-known wave on the East Coast.
But you might not know that these same beaches are also the most important sea turtle nesting habitat in the northern hemisphere.

Category: Nature

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CA Moves Towards Requiring OFG!

The updating of an existing California law would move the state towards requiring the essential parts of the Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) approach in virtually all new development and redevelopment. Two-plus years of work by Surfrider and colleagues have paid off!

Category: Nature

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Oregon Inspires Ocean Protections

Oregon’s wild and untamed coastline has inspired great passion and intrigue for many recreational users and visitors to this special place. Unlike the placid waters and groomed beaches of a postcard vacation, Oregon’s rogue coast and ocean waters attract those who seek adventure and draw deeper connections to a day at the coast than beach blanket bingo and rum-filled cocktails. Drawing on these connections, Oregonians have taken action to protect what they love, now extending some of those protections beyond the shoreline.

Category: Nature

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World Ocean's Day: What's Working

Since its first observance by the United Nations in 2008, World Oceans Day has provided an occasion to celebrate the wonders of a magnificent ecosystem. Amazing wildlife, breathtaking views, tasty seafood and recreational enjoyment are just some of the amenities a healthy ocean offers to us.
Thankfully, many of us realize how vital the ocean is and work hard to keep this beautiful ecosystem safe. The Surfrider Foundation is proud to be one of the organizations leading the charge -- empowering citizens from across the country and the world to join us as Ocean Defenders. And it's paying off.

Category: Nature

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Globs of Oil Cover Miles of Southern California Beaches

In late May 2015, Surfrider published a NoteStream about the oil spill in Santa Barbara at Refugio State Beach. At first, we were hopeful the spill was contained and clean up efforts would stop the oil from spreading further along the coast. Now, we are questioning that assumption entirely. Since May 27th, oil globs have been found along southern California (concentrated near Ventura, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu, Zuma Beach and Venice Beach). Surfrider Staff and volunteers have been corresponding with cleanup responders. An Official from the state informed us they have received reports of oil from Morro Bay down to Imperial Beach, San Diego. Point of reference: That’s about a 350-mile stretch of coastline.

Category: Nature

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World Ocean Month is Here! 6 Ways You Can Help

Do you love the ocean? The beach? Whales? Surfing? Paddle boarding? Boating? The list of amazing things you can do in and around the ocean is truly endless. But this amazing body of water is in jeopardy. And there’s no better time than World Oceans Month to ask for your support in the preservation and protection of our ocean and beaches.Here are a few things you can do to help!

Category: Nature

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Wave Protection - More Than Meets The Eye

While millions of waves break along the coastlines of the world, it takes a very unique combination of geographic, geologic, meteorological and oceanographic conditions to make a wave surfable. World class surf spots are even more rare.
When thinking about protecting a surf spot, it is easy to focus right on the wave itself but protecting a surf spot is a lot more than that.

Category: Nature

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Updates on Santa Barbara Oil Spill at Refugio State Beach

On May 19, 2015, the popular and pristine beaches of Refugio State Beach were covered by sticky, smelly, black oil. Shockwaves spread through Santa Barbara—a tiny town all too familiar with oil spills. As Santa Barbara once again contends with a catastrophic spill, the memories of the devastating 1969 spill still linger. Find out what you can do to make a difference.

Category: Nature

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Surfrider Clubs, Chapters & Staff take to Capitol Hill

On May 11-14th, Surfrider staff, chapter leaders, and four college students from Surfrider College Clubs across the U.S. attended the Blue Vision Summit in DC. Hosted by the Blue Frontier Campaign, the Blue Vision Summit brought together ocean advocates, scientists, and members of industry to discuss ways to advance marine conservation.
We will post a story from each of the college student's experiences at the Summit and lobbying at Capitol Hill. Today, meet Lauren "Mae" Henry, Graduating Senior, UNCW Club Chair!

Category: Nature

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Your Input Is Shaping The Clean Water Act

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just finished incorporating over 1 million public comments into an Administrative rule to clearly define 'Waters of the US' and restore Clean Water Act protections to small streams and wetlands. Here at Surfrider, we know clean water at the beach starts with healthy waters upstream, and we submitted comments to EPA in support of a strong CWA rule.

Category: Nature

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Ocean Planning for Recreational Users

I had the good fortune to score an invitation from the Healthy Oceans Coalition to attend a series of meetings to promote the National Ocean Policy in Washington, D.C., this March. The National Ocean Policy creates a vision to achieve the lasting stewardship of our nation’s ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes for all people. Nearly fifty ocean stakeholders descended upon Capitol Hill as part of this effort, meeting with U.S. legislators from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. A primary goal was to urge these decision-makers to support Regional Ocean Planning, which is a key part of National Ocean Policy implementation.

Category: Nature

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Seawalls and Sea Level Rise: No Win

The Surfrider Foundation’s San Francisco chapter has been working for the last several years to restore and protect Sharp Park, in Pacifica, California, due to its significant location on a fragile coastal wetland, the habitat it provides to threatened and endangered species, and threats to the beach from long term, aggressive erosion in the area. Last week, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department’s (SFRPD) Sharp Park golf course project, which Surfrider Foundation opposes. The CDP allows SFRPD to construct infrastructure “improvements” to the oceanfront course, which is home to the endangered San Francisco garter snake, and the threatened California red-legged frog.

Category: Nature

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Healthy Soil Supports Clean Surf

Our partners at G3/Green Gardens Group took the initiative to bring together the world's leaders in soil and how it can help save us from drought, climate catastrophe, and water pollution. The conference, Soil In The City ("dirty" version of Sex In The City), exposed us to how we treat our soil like dirt! From coastal cities to farms to rangelands, the restoration principles are the same. Let's get started turning dirt into soil!

Category: Nature

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The Next Great Battle

April 20 marks the five-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Despite the catastrophic effects this spill had – and continues to have – on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and coastal communities, the federal government is still attempting to introduce new offshore drilling along the Mid- and South Atlantic. Surfrider's Environmental Director, Pete Stauffer, writes about “The Next Great Battle” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Drop, Surfrider's new biannual magazine offered as a new benefit to members who contribute $50 or more annually. Read the full version of the article, then join today for $50 to receive the Fall 2015 issue of The Drop.

Category: Nature

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Got a Hurricane? Get a Garden!

This is the third article in my Earth Month series, that demonstrates how Surfrider chapters and clubs collaborate with local government staff and college students to build an Ocean Friendly Garden. This particular project in North Carolina helped tackle the problems of urban runoff polluting a former shell fishing bay as well as buffering the impacts of big storms.

Category: Gardening

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Why Seismic Matters—Atlantic Braces for Shock

Is there any doubt left that the oil and gas industry is seeking to carve up the Atlantic Ocean for offshore drilling? The federal government has released a map showing where companies want to conduct seismic surveys for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast. The permit applications span from Delaware to Florida and target seismic testing from close to shore to over 500 miles out. Many of the applications overlap each other in territory, which means that places like the Outer Banks will be particularly vulnerable to the destructive effects of seismic testing.

Category: Nature

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Surfrider: 2015 Top Environmental Priorities

As coastal populations grow and new industries loom on the horizon, coastal communities and businesses will have a powerful voice for protecting the places we use and enjoy. So it follows that we – surfers, beach goers and other recreational users – also have a voice to help defend our coasts from an ever-expanding list of threats.
Since our founding 30 years ago, the Surfrider Foundation has not veered from its mission to protect our oceans, waves and beaches so we can enjoy them today, tomorrow and for years to come.
So what’s on our agenda for 2015?

Category: Nature

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Ocean Friendly Gardens

Water running off our properties picks ups pollutants like fertilizers, pesticides, animal poo, and fine sediment as well as oil, brake pad dust and exhaust from cars. Runoff also contributes to flooding, and it wastes a free source of irrigation in the landscape.
Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) revive our watersheds and oceans by applying CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention- to our landscapes and hardscapes. Learn more!

Category: Gardening

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How To Rise Above Plastics

Most plastic pollution at sea starts out on land as litter on beaches, streets and sidewalks. Rain or overwatering flushes that litter through a storm drain system or directly to creeks, streams and rivers that lead to the ocean. Simple local actions can help make an impact to solve this global issue. Join us in protecting the coast and Rise Above Plastics!

Category: Nature

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Learn How-To’s For An Ocean Friendly Garden

In celebration of spring and Earth Day on April 22, what better way to show your love for Mother Earth than creating an ocean friendly, drought-resistant and cost-effective landscape!
Our Ocean Friendly Gardens program provides the tools and resources to beautify landscapes while using the least amount of water – saving time, money and protecting our ocean from the number one source of pollution: urban runoff.

Category: Gardening

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The Beach Act at 15 Years

Fifteen years ago the Surfrider Foundation staff and activists were schlepping a surfboard through the halls of the U.S. Congress collecting signatures to support the initial passage of the Beach Bill (H.R. 999). The surfboard (and the bill) ended up with over 100 signatures from U.S. Senators and Representatives alike. President Bill Clinton signed the coastal water quality legislation into law on October 20, 2000 creating the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act). Today, the Surfrider Foundation continues to fight to keep the BEACH Act funded and to improve the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) oversight of this critical public health program.

Category: Nature

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School Rain Garden Goes With The Flow

The Peninsula School Rain Garden shows the importance of patience, utilizing Surfrider chapter resources, and developing partnerships. The project team had to address some issues: flooding problems in a school courtyard, clogged storm drain piping, and a small budget. This project to develop a garden in the school’s courtyard started in May of 2013 and was completed in September 2014. After receiving the information that the Portland Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation got a $10,000 Community Watershed Stewardship Program grant, meetings were started to go over the initial planning and develop what the garden is going to look like.

Category: Gardening

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San Diego Pure Water Program Approved

The work of numerous activists with Surfrider's San Diego County Chapter over a period of many years paid off on November 18, 2014 when the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to approve Pure Water San Diego, a program which will significantly reduce wastewater discharges to the ocean and produce 83 million gallons per day (mgd) of high quality drinking water.

Category: Science

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Surfrider Foundation Victories 2014

At any given moment, Surfrider and our chapter activist network are working on dozens of campaigns for the continued protection of our coastal communities. These campaigns range from improving coastal water quality, cleaning our beaches and fighting for plastic-free oceans to advocating for legislation to protect at-risk coastal places and keep beaches accessible. Since 2006, we have been tracking our victories. In 2014, our members enabled our chapters and activists to win 34 victories for our ocean, waves and beaches, giving us a current victory count of 297.

Category: Nature

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Settlement to Save Sea Island Split in Georgia

Environmental groups in Georgia fought for land conservation on a fragile spit of coastal property and won a land use easement for 80 acres of protected coastal land. Through a settlement agreement with Sea Island Company, brokered by environmental attorneys at GreenLaw, representing Altamaha Riverkeeper, Center for a Sustainable Coast and the Georgia chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, eight houses will be built on the island's Cloister Reserve development but 90% of the area will be preserved as undeveloped in perpetuity.

Category: Nature

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Marine Sanctuaries Expand in North CA

For decades Surfrider members have worked to protect California's north coast from the threat of offshore drilling. That vision has now been realized in the form of permanent protections for Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

Category: Nature

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Surfing After a Rain: What are the Risks?

Recently, I was interviewed by Jake Howard of Surfline regarding the health risks of surfing after a rain. I repeated the standard Health Department warning to stay out of the water for 72 hours due to the mass of pollutants (including human and animal fecal matter) that can wash off the land and streets, into storm drains and rivers and then directly to the ocean after a rain. We know that dirty water can't be good for you, but how bad is it? What kind of diseases can it cause? Will you be sick for a day or longer? What are the odds?

Category: Nature

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The Oceans are Full of Plastic - What Now?

Surfrider is very concerned about the problem of plastics in the ocean. Plastics kill or injure large numbers of seabirds, fish and marine mammals through entanglement and ingestion. A recent report was released by scientists at 5 Gyres that estimated 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons are currently floating at sea. We have to address the problem at the source by using less plastics (Reduce or Refuse), then Reuse any remaining plastic materials as many times as possible, and Recycle the rest.

Category: Nature

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Rise Above Plastics: Reuse, Reduce, Refuse & Recycle

The reality of plastic pollution is that it is happening in every home, office, school and community.
Considering the facts, it’s no surprise that it’s the most prevalent type of marine litter worldwide.
The extent of plastic use is mind-boggling.
With this in mind, the Surfrider Foundation created its Rise Above Plastics program in 2007 with a mission to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment, raise awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution, and advocate for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.
Learn how you can make a difference!

Category: Nature

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