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The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum to hold clean up on Bunche Beach

By Staff | May 31, 2017

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum will celebrate World Oceans Day its own way: on Thursday, June 8, from 7 to 9 a.m., the shell museum staff along with their Shell Ambassadors will hold a clean up at Bunche Beach, located at 18201 John Morris Road. The public is invited to join in as well.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. uses 380 billion plastic bags per year and only 3 percent of that is recycled.

“I hope people say no to single-use plastic, especially bags, water bottles and straws. Those are the three biggest things that we can cut out of our world,” said Stefanie Wolf, marine biologist at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.

Although this is the first time the museum has participated in World Oceans Day, this isn’t the first time they have held a clean up on Bunche Beach. Wolf made the decision to hold the clean up there instead of Sanibel because Bunche seems to be more of a hotspot for trash and debris.

“I’ve picked up hundreds of pounds of trash (at Bunche). There’s so much that’s caught up in the mangroves,” Wolf said. “We have a lot of people here on Sanibel that will pick it up when they walk. I feel like you don’t get that as much in Fort Myers. I’m excited to see what we get.”

To register for the beach clean up, contact Stefanie Wolf at swolf@shellmuseum.org. Parking at Bunche Beach is $2 per hour.

To cut down on the use of plastic, consider these tips:

* Use a reusable bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. The bags still remain toxic even after they break down thus contaminating the soil, waterways and even animals.

* Start using a reusable bottle. According to EcoWatch, plastic water bottles are one of the most common trash items found on beaches.

* Say no to straws. Aside from water bottles, straws are another common finding on beaches. Opt for a stainless steel straw or glass one instead.

* Bring your own containers for take out and leftover food.

* Stop chewing gum. According to the American Chemical Society, almost all chewing gum contains polyethylene which is a molecule that is also used to make plastic bottles and plastic bags.

* Shop local farmer’s markets to avoid plastic waste.