Litter. It’s a pervasive problem with the potential to negatively affect all living things. From South Carolina’s mountain streams to its island beaches, plastics and other improperly discarded materials not only destroy the beauty of our landscape but also can be harmful to us. Rainwater pooled in plastic litter provides a breeding ground for disease-spreading mosquitoes. Plastics and cigarette butts may leach dangerous toxins into our water supply. Aggregations of litter can clog storm drains, harm wildlife, and harbor disease-causing microbes. So what can we do? The South Carolina Aquarium is leading the way to empower citizens like you to engage with us in meaningful conservation actions. As partners, we can make a bigger positive impact while concurrently generating scientifically valuable data that everyone can access. Our goal with the Litter-free Digital Journal is to promote collaborative solutions by tracking and removing plastics and other types of refuse from both terrestrial and marine habitats throughout South Carolina. The benefits are numerous; will you take action with us? HOW TO PARTICIPATE: 1. Choose any location with litter that you can safely and legally access. 2. Assemble your supplies! You'll need separate bags for collecting trash and recyclables, as well as gloves (garden, work, latex, etc.) and tools to safely pick up litter. Long-handled nets work well to retrieve debris from waterways. Your crew may appreciate hand sanitizer and/or safety vests. 3. Designate a person to record data during the sweep using either the South Carolina Aquarium Citizen Science app (preferred) or a datasheet. 4. Once you’ve finished, take photos! Team photos with the total amount of litter collected are a great way to memorialize your efforts and foster pride for a job well done. 5. Remove collected litter from the site and properly dispose of it. Recycle items in accordance with local regulations, and put the remaining trash in a proper receptacle. 6. Finally, contribute your data. Thank you for making a difference!
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