That time of the year is here. The current COVID-19 restrictions are becoming more lenient and the beached are opening up for gatherings – socially distanced gatherings.
Here are our top tips on how to be a responsible beach-goer.
- Say no to any single-use plastics.
These are often find plastic cutlery, straws, plates and cups left behind on the beach – polluting, unsightly and posing a threat to marine and human life. Using them and throwing them away is a better option, but they will still eventually end up in landfill or burnt – contributing to climate change. It is best to limit these as much as possible, opt for reusable alternatives or for compostable ones – simply make sure that it is disposed of in the ‘compost’ bin.
- No driving on turtle nesting beaches
Green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles nest along beaches in Egypt and they are all considered endangered by the IUCN. The heavy weight of the car on the the beach compresses any nests, preventing the hatchlings from emerging from the nest to the sea. The tracks imprinted in the sand can also block the little hatchlings from crawling to the sea.
- Use reef-safe sunscreen
Many sunscreens contain chemicals that are linked to coral bleaching – a visible sign of stress in coral. Opt for mineral-based sunscreens with active ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals act as UVA and UVB blockers but are not linked to coral bleaching.
Egypt’s very own Black Lotus‘ mineral sunscreen is reef-safe and uses natural ingredients, such as beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter and zinc oxide.
- Knock down any sand castles or fill in any holes
Before you leave the beach, make sure to flatten back out the sand as much as possible. These can be obstacles to sea turtles who come to lay their eggs on the beach and their baby hatchlings making their way to the water. The world is already tough for little hatchlings; from escaping from natural predators like birds, crabs and dogs while making their way to the water, to looking out for fish and seabirds, only around 1 in 1000 hatchlings survive to adulthood.
- ‘Take three for the sea’
This is a global movement If you come across any pollution on the beach, take three pieces of rubbish with you. It is always nice to leave the beach even more pristine than when you arrived.
Don’t forget to use gloves because some waste can be toxic.
- Leave any shells, sand or coral at the beach
It is tempting to bring them back as souvenirs since they are beautiful to look at but removing shells from the damages the local ecosystem and endanger the organisms that rely on shells for their survival. The shells are used in birds’ nests, a home/attachment surface for algae, sea grass, sponges and other microorganisms.7. Watch out for seagrasses in the water
Seagrasses are the nurseries of the sea a safe place where marine creatures come to lay their eggs and/or raise their young. It is also home to the native dugongs. They also filter pathogens, bacteria and pollution out of seawater. Unregulated fishing, boating activities and other recreational activities are threats to this habitat. Be sure to check with the local authorities to make sure you are not harming the environment when enjoying yourself.8. Stay on the beaten path
Depending on the beach, there may be sand dunes along the coast. They protect the coast from erosion and from strong waves. The designated path for beach goers is there for so that we do not disrupt them.