Who doesn’t love a good beach day? The sun, the surf, the sand … the plastic?
Ryan Hickman (@ryans_recycling) is already famous for his recycling exploits, but one of his recent Instagram videos might make you think twice about taking those plastic toys to the beach.
In a Reel shared with his 20,000+ followers, Hickman shows off a startling rainbow of colors — but it’s not in the sky — it’s in his driveway. It’s a rainbow he’s made from all of the colorful plastic beach toys he’s collected during 75 beach clean-ups over the course of 18 months.
“Plastic pollution comes in many forms,” he writes in the Reel caption. “Please pack out what you packed in whether you’re at the beach or mountains or any place in nature.” He tags the post #maketheseatrashfree.
Plastic is a leading contributor to ocean pollution.
“Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year for use in a wide variety of applications,” says the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). “At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, and plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments,” the group says.
When marine animals eat plastic, they can become sick and often die. Plastic also makes the oceans less capable of absorbing planet-heating gases such as carbon.
Researchers have found microplastics in all corners of the world, as well as in the food supply, and in human blood.
People had a lot of thoughts on Ryan’s rainbow of collected plastic toys.
One Instagrammer asked what was being done with the toys. “Are [you] donating to charity or what?”
Another had an idea that could help to fund more clean-up efforts. “Wow, you could open a store with that inventory,” they wrote.
Another user said that after his daily swim, their grandfather picks up beach trash “almost every day.”
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