Tips for Teens

Trash in the Trash

Building a Clean Water Future means we need to work with others to find ways to keep our water clean, healthy and beautiful. Trash is everywhere in our busy lives and we can easily drop something or not even notice when a food wrapper or plastic bottle gets away from us. The frequent rain on the Gulf coast washes trash into our storm drains where it then flows into our streams, into the bay and into the Gulf. Fish and marine animals can mistake plastic trash for food or get tangled in it. Pet waste runoff can make water unsafe for swimming, fishing or boating.

Some people dump trash in out-of-the-way places but that trash then gets washed into our waterways. Join a coastal cleanup or start a recycle program or just make sure you always place your trash in secure receptacles. Even small things like bottle caps can injure or kill marine creatures. We are fortunate that we have organized city services that collect trash and waste. Letís use these services so we can build a Clean Water Future.

Problems


There's Too Much Plastic in the Ocean

A recent high-quality study found that there is a huge amount of plastic trash in our oceans. This plastic pollution makes our waters unsafe and unsightly.

Plastic Recovered from Dauphin Island Beach by Caitlin Wessel

200M Items in 30 years

Over the course of the 30-year history of the International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers have removed over 200 million items from beaches and waterways around the world. The top-ten list of items removed includes items like plastics bottles, plastic bottle caps, aluminum cans, cigarette butts, derelict fishing gear and a range of disposable plastic goods and food packaging. (Ocean Conservancy, 2016)

Things You Can Do


Place All Trash Securely in a Can

Litter does not belong on the ground where it can be washed down into storm drains and flow into our streams and bays. Hold on to the trash until you find a trash can to put the trash in.

Put Even Small Things in the Trash Can

Bottle caps, candy bar wrappers, chip bags, and cigarette butts all can cause major problems for fish, birds, and marine mammals downstream. So make sure they end up in the trash can.

Cary a Trash Bag

As you're out and about or at school, reuse a grocery bag by carrying it around in your backpack or purse so you have somewhere to secure wrappers, bottles and other trash that you can throw out when you get home.

Join or Start a Community Cleanup

Attending a litter cleanup is a fun way of undoing the damage of years of people not making sure their trash ends up in the trash can or recycled. Find a cleanup close to you.

Petition for Better Litter Laws

Write letters to the editor and the mayor, go to city council meetings, talk to your city councilperson and ask them to enact better laws to help keep litter out of the water.

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Commit to making a Difference Commits
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Goal 50

Resources

City street sweeping through the years

At the turn of the century, Baltimoreís street sweepers were called White Wings because of the fancy white uniforms they wore, complete with coats and ties and matching pith helmets.

Launch Slideshow

Marine Debris Monitoring

How big is the marine debris problem, and how is it changing over time? Which debris types are most common?† Interested in getting involved?

Volunteer

Cool Shirts from Amazon

RKOZ Women's Do Not Litter T-shirt

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RKOZ Men's Do Not Litter T-shirt

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Bluma Women's Recycle Don't Be Trashy T-Shirt

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