The fight against single-use plastic waste has more people joining every day, but much of this increased public awareness would not be where it is today without the tireless efforts of nonprofit organizations. OkStraw Paper Straws would like to highlight one of these true guardians of our hometown San Diego’s beaches: The Surfrider Foundation.
Founded in 1984, Surfrider is headquartered in San Clemente, California, and has chapters throughout the West and East Coasts, the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, and several international locations. The Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego County chapter hosts a number of events and campaigns dedicated to protecting the 72 miles of coastline that stretches from Orange County to the US-Mexico Border.
The Surfrider Foundation fights against single-use plastic waste through its Rise Above Plastic campaign.
Part of the fight against trash harming marine animals is to stop it before it can enter the ocean. Surfrider hosts regular beach cleanups, with more than 294 cleanups and over 31 thousand pounds of trash removed in the past two years alone. As important as beach cleanups are, however, the most important step to ending plastic waste entering our oceans is to limit the amount of plastic that we are using in the first place. Making small changes like replacing unnecessary plastic straws and bags with paper straws and bags can make a big difference for keeping our beaches healthy.
The Surfrider Foundation fights against single-use plastic waste through its Rise Above Plastic campaign. Surfrider has a list on its website of ten ways people can fight single-use plastic waste, including supporting plastic bag bans, bringing your own mug or beverage container, and cutting down on plastic packaging and straws. Keeping San Diego’s beaches and its marine animals healthy and safe is a monumental responsibility, and Surfrider is a champion for this cause.
Surfrider hosts an online pledge people can sign to stop using single-use plastic straws.
Surfrider maintains a list of local restaurants and cafes that qualify as Ocean Friendly Restaurants. Ocean Friendly Restaurants must follow proper recycling practices, they cannot use polystyrene containers, single-use tableware, or plastic bags, and they can only offer straws on request. Surfrider of San Diego County also hosts an online pledge people can sign to stop using single-use plastic straws. For people who’ve made the pledge to kick the plastic straw, switching to reusable metal or paper straws is a far better alternative.
Surfrider of San Diego County also focuses on publicly advocating for the pollution issue affecting beaches in the border region. Sewage runoff from Tijuana, Mexico poses a serious health hazard to beachgoers on both sides of the border, causing beaches such as Rosarito, Coronado, Imperial Beach to be closed to the public. With no action being taken by the federal government, it is up to nonprofits like the Surfrider Foundation to raise the alarm, and combat this health threat to both San Diego County’s and Mexico’s beaches.
From campaigning to end single-plastics waste, advocating public action against coastal pollution, to hosting trash cleanups, the Surfrider Foundation takes a holistic approach to protect San Diego County’s Beaches. All of these efforts are a reminder that while the cause to end plastic waste is a major effort in itself, it’s just one of many battles that must be waged to protect our planet’s rivers, lakes and oceans. We at OkStraw Paper Straws would like to extend greatest appreciation to nonprofits like the Surfrider Foundation for fighting to keep San Diego America’s Finest City.