Decline in wildlife challenges local community to clean beaches
Roughly 2,500 acres of estuaries in Florida are polluted. Because of this, seagrasses have been decreasing by 7% each year. This issue stretches across many different ecosystems in the area.
Dr. Thomas Chesnes, a professor of biology at Palm Beach Atlantic University, said, “We have seen a decrease in species abundance and this is also being shown in the decline of manatees, which eat the sea grasses.”
Manatees, which are known as the cows of the sea, can usually be seen off the coast of Palm Beach basking in the sun. This decline of seagrass has resulted in a loss of 24% of manatees in Florida due to starvation.
Many college students are encouraged to participate in beach cleanups. PBA requires their students to earn volunteer hours through its Workship program, which increases awareness about nonprofit organizations and encourages young adults to become involved with helping the community.
Nathan Chau, the director of Worship at PBA, said, “The source that I direct students to is keeppalmbeachcountybeautiful.org. There you will see monthly beach cleanups that are happening all the time.”
A small step in the right direction can help change the course of the future. Beach cleanups and other volunteer opportunities can aid the preservation of wildlife.
“Just doing the little things! There are 8 billion people on this planet. That cumulative action will add up,” Chesnes said.
Locals can also become involved by visiting townofpalmbeach.com, marinlife.org or floridadep.org today to help clean Florida's ecosystems.
By Kalie Thacker