Our oceans are in trouble
Six million tons of debris are being dumped into our oceans every year. 80% of this debris comes from the streams and rivers carrying trash directly to our oceans. There is a “garbage island”, a soupy mass, about the size of Africa that has formed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean containing marine debris, mostly plastic, that has made its way from our shores to our oceans.
Every piece of plastic that has ever been made on earth is here forever…much of it making its way into our oceans. We can’t get the plastic out of the water, it has broken down into microscopic pieces and is all pervasive. In the “garbage island”, there are six pounds of debris for every pound of plankton.
What can we do to help our oceans, fish, and bird life? The only way to reduce marine debris, all sides agree, is to cut it off at its source — on land.
Stream to Sea Program
That is why ACA National has created the “stream to sea initiative” whose purpose it to promote positive environmental stewardship within the paddling community. ACA National has instituted the “Paddle Green Program” which is a three-pronged effort to educate, motivate, and model proactive on-water stewardship practices to curb marine debris at its source.
The Atlantic Division is aligned with ACA National in its vision to stop polluting our waters by keeping the health of the nation’s waters free of debris.
Specifically, the “Paddle Green Program” promotes clean-up events where an especially polluted area will be targeted for cleaning. Our volunteers will provide the manpower to clean at least a half-mile area. Trash will be collected and placed into categories – plastic, paper, wood, cans, and bottles. The ACA is doing a nationwide trash data collection with clubs and organizations like ours all around the country. ACA’s “stewardship coordinator” will help us find donations to pay for the cost of the clean-up, e.g. special “paddle green bags” which every member will receive, gloves, dumpsters, grab-it extenders, and other material needed for the clean-up. Our conservation team will choose a trash-strewn area and will organize a clean-up such as the Piermont Marsh which was blanketed with trash by Hurricane Sandy, orany of our many river banks, etc.
Please give us your suggestions. Volunteers from each club will be encouraged to participate so that we can model positive water stewardship and demonstrate leadership for our entire community.
Comments or questions are welcome.