How to visit beaches responsibly: five ways to help

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4. Leave nature untouched

Carrying a seashell from your favorite beach house with you is a nostalgic delicacy, but it’s important to keep in mind that they are important for the health of the beach. The shells provide nutrients and shelter for small insects and animals, and are even used by seabirds to build their nests. You can always take home a memorable souvenir. Shop along the coast for local handmade items – not only does this protect the beach environment, but it supports the local economy and community.

If you come across a turtle or seal that is stranded or appears injured, it is important not to disturb it. The best advice is to call a local conservation society or veterinarian to avoid causing further distress. The Wildlife Trusts has more information on what to do when you find a stranded marine animal.

5. Home help

You can help keep beaches cleaner by intercepting litter before it reaches the ocean. Think about how you use plastic at home: recycle, reuse, avoid single-use plastic and buy as much as possible sustainably and locally. You can also take the time to learn about broader beach issues. For example, traffic congestion that disrupts local communities – you can contribute to this by visiting beaches accessible by bike or public transport instead of taking a car. The United Kingdom has some beautiful beaches accessible by train, such as Fistral Beach in Cornwall, Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris or the main beaches of Bournemouth and Brighton.

There are many campaign groups that help protect our coasts, beaches and sea, such as Surfers Against Sewage and Ocean Conservation Trust. While participating in local beach cleanups is a great start, donating money to these causes from home can lead to better equipment and resources to help on a larger scale.

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