Every year, our marine ecosystem gets polluted with over 176 million tons of plastic. That amount of waste can seem staggering, but communities along every coast are doing their part to keep their beaches clean.

Washington Place sits only 30 minutes away from the coast, so the value of beach life literally hits close to home for us. On July 25, we’ll be joining with AMC members and their families throughout California for our annual beach cleanup, socially distanced but united in spirit. Here are just a few ways banding together to clean our beaches improves our community.

Protect Ocean Life

Just because plastic and other debris wash up on the beach doesn’t mean it stays there. Tides take back as much as they leave on the shore. While garbage sits drying on the beach, there’s a prime window of opportunity to clean the beach and remove the waste from the marine ecosystem. There are countless heartbreaking examples of ocean animals falling victim to human pollution in the ocean. Cleaning the beach is a great chance to save these creatures from harm.

Make Beaches Safer

Not all debris on the beach is in the plastic soda bottle category. Taking your kids to the beach for the day sounds like an afternoon of fun in the sun until you find broken glass or used needles in your sandcastles. All kinds of hazardous waste wash up on the shore, and without regular cleanings, beachgoers can be exposed to unnecessary dangers. Clean beaches keep everyone, humans and sealife alike, safe.

Engage in Responsible Social Activity

With social distancing guidelines still in place, your opportunities to gather with other members of your community are a bit hampered. But spreading out six feet minimum and combing the beach for debris is a great way to meet your neighbors and catch up with old friends. At last, an activity we can all take part in that is well-suited to the demands of these unprecedented times. To keep cleanups safe for everyone, we encourage residents to only gather in small cleanup crews and adhere to the CDC’s guidance regarding mask usage and social distancing.

Beach cleanups are a great way to improve our community. Whether it’s to preserve ocean life, keep our children safe from hazardous waste, or just as a means to beautify the environment with our family, friends, and neighbors, removing garbage from the marine ecosystem is always a good idea. So join us on July 25—tag Washington Place in your photos on social media, using the hashtags #livehappy and #AMCcleanup. Stay safe and have fun. See you out there!