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Local group Beach Guardians Atlantic Coasts host 'Stand Up for Sea Life' at Carlin Park

Posted at 7:29 PM, Jun 11, 2016

With World Oceans day taking place a few days ago, one local organization is doing their part to bring awareness to a growing issue in our waters.

They say plastic debris is making a mess - harming our wildlife and destroying our ecosystem.

Rhona Mancuso, a Jupiter resident of more than 45 years, says a lot has changed since she was a kid.

“I walk the beach almost every day, and the amount of plastic that I pick up is unbelievable,” she says.

Mancuso is a member of Beach Guardians Atlantic Coasts, and the organization says the past 10 years have been especially bad.

“It’s really like the air pollution of our time I would say,” says Linda Emerson - founder of Beach Guardians. “Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it's not there.”

A global study, led by the not-for-profit 5 Gyres Institute, estimates there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the world's oceans.

The Beach Guardians are now hoping up to do their part to reduce that plastic footprint.

The group held a 'Stand Up for Sea Life' event at Carlin Park Saturday.

In their hands are Mylar balloons collected from area beaches.

Those balloons representing only a fraction of what they've seen.

“Beach combing used to be seashells and starfish and seaweed,” Emerson says. “Now we have a substantial proportion of plastic.”

It's plastic that ends up being eaten by marine life - including sea turtles - causing major damage to the ecosystem.

Their message - consider the impact next time you reach for that straw, that balloon, or that plastic bag.

“Think twice about every time you use single-use plastic,” Mancuso says. “And realize that even though you throw it in the trash can, eventually it ends up in the ocean.”

The group plans to have more events like this in the future to bring awareness to the issue.

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