The post-surf beach cleanup challenge

Surfing
Surfing: pick up two pieces of plastic after each session | Photo: Weston Fuller / westonfuller.com

There are around 20 million surfers in the world, and trillions of plastic items washing up on our beaches.

If every surfer on this planet, after each session, picked up two pieces of plastic, fishing nets, or other kinds of trash, the sands and sea would be free from 40 million items of rubbish.

You can definitely make a difference. It's not about cleaning up the whole beach. All you need is to collect a few items. And if you pick up three pieces of plastic instead of two, that's a positive increment of 50 percent.

Whether you're an every-other-day surfer, a weekend warrior, or professional elite surfer, this is a challenge with a huge and immediate impact.

All you need is to establish a routine and spot, as you walk up the beach toward the parking lot, a couple of items that you think may impact the environment negatively.

Priority goes to plastic items - bottles, food packaging, bags, drink containers, single-use coffee cup lids, straws - ghost nets, cans, and cigarette butts.

Have you forgotten to pick them up and are ready to leave the beach?

You have two options:

1. Spare a couple of minutes and get back to the sand to collect a few pieces of trash;

2. Take a look at the surf, reflect on what it just gave you, and remember to do it next time you ride your share of waves;

Beach cleanups: surfers are environmentalists | Photo: Shutterstock

The Gamification of the Post-Surf Beach Cleanup

The challenge is not supposed to be an obligation - it's about changing the world with a simple gesture. All you need to do is get down twice to pick up the unwanted trash items.

It will not only ease our conscience, but it will also protect marine life and allow future generations to enjoy the pleasures the beach and the ocean can provide.

Encourage your friends and fellow surfers to join the movement. Make sure beachgoers see what you're doing, and maybe they'll feel inspired to do it, too.

Embrace the quick post-surf beach-cleanup movement. After all, every surfer is an environmentalist.

And, as you get used to doing it every time you surf, it becomes a healthy obsession and addiction.

It's a bit like the gamification of surf environmentalism. Let's play it using hashtag #postsurfcleanup on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Trash: trillions of plastic items wash up on our beaches every year | Photo: Shutterstock

The 2-Minute Beach Clean

The 2-Minute Beach Clean is a similar program that invites anyone that goes to the beach to spend 60 seconds picking up marine plastics.

The project was created by Martin Dorey and Tab Parry and kicked off in the United Kingdom in 2013.

"The idea is that people just do two minutes. It is enough, and it tells them when to stop. Because we're all guilty and responsible," explains Dorey.

The concept uses the hashtag #2minutebeachclean on social media platforms and is targeted at a wide range of beach lovers - not only surfers.

"We need to have a general change in the way everybody visits outside spaces, so we want it to be normal to go to the beach and pick up litter."

There's even a 2-Minute Beach Clean smartphone app that collects data and images from all users, influences people and tackles polluters.

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