Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Commission’s BEach CLEAN campaign is helping keep Topsail Island clean, beautiful and safe for wildlife and humans.

Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Commission’s BEach CLEAN campaign is moving full steam ahead with a focus on leaving no trace, reducing or eliminating the use of plastics and protecting the 26 miles of Topsail Island coastline for wildlife and humans alike to enjoy.

The BEach CLEAN initiative was launched in February 2022 with a gathering of stakeholders who provided more details on how to keep the beaches, shorelines and waterways clean and healthy throughout the Topsail area.

There are many ways that everyone can contribute to a cleaner beach, including:
• Reducing or eliminating the use of plastics, especially bags and single-use items
• Leaving all glass items at home
• Picking up and properly disposing of all trash throughout the day
• Removing dog waste when walking your pet on the beach
• Filling in holes and knocking down tall sand structures when you leave the beach for the day
• Taking all beach furniture with you when your day at the beach is done.

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Plastic and glass are particularly hazardous for children, birds, turtles and other beach inhabitants. The BEach CLEAN initiative emphasizes that plastic especially can be mistaken for food by turtles and seabirds. Once it floats out into the ocean, plastic can also impact the many fish and dolphin that call the waters home.

Topsail Island is a sea turtle sanctuary, home to more than 100 nests laid by sea turtles each year, typically from May to August.

The sea turtles return to the same spots on the beach each time they lay the eggs. Sea turtles can confuse plastic bags in the water for the jellyfish they love to eat. They may have to cross over trash or navigate holes or sandcastles to get to that perfect spot at the edge of the dunes for their nest. In the ocean, they can consume microplastics in the fish and other food.

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BEach CLEAN has garnered a lot of attention. Large signs and posters throughout the Topsail area announce the steps we can all take to keep the beach plastic-free and litter-free.

County officials, community organizations, the local chamber of commerce and many businesses support the initiative and promote efforts to maintain a safe, clean and healthy beach for everyone.

As awareness grows, so do the efforts of the concerned individuals and groups in the Topsail area. Many local restaurants are reducing their use of plastic and other single-use items, encouraging customers to properly dispose of trash and providing receptables for recycling. Local groups are organizing weekly beach cleanups, with individuals volunteering to walk the beach and pick up trash.

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TIPSC offers the BEach CLEAN logo and full-size posters for anyone interested in promoting the cause; they are available for download and use for public education. Focused on ways to keep the local shores clean and pristine, TIPSC emphasizes that “our island is a beautiful beach destination whether you are visiting for the day, week, or longer, and we want you to have a safe and memorable visit for years to come.”

Leave no trace, keep the BEach CLEAN and enjoy!

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Topsail Magazine Contributor

Topsail Magazine Contributor