Environmentally conscious UC San Diego students have come up with a project to protect the environment.
UCSD Triton Lobby Corps is proposing a policy plan to install special fishing line recycling bins at the entrances around Black's Beach. The corps is a campus-based entity of students who recruit and engage students and advocate on legislation and issues involving higher education.
“Especially since COVID, I’ve noticed a lot more recreational fishers going down to Black’s Beach,” said Michael Tesis, Triton Lobby Corps manager of environmental policy. “Walking along the shoreline I’ve found things, like a dead seagull wrapped up in fishing lines, more and more washing up onshore.”
So Tesis and other students took action.
“We started an online petition that’s going pretty well,” he noted. “In less than 24 hours we gained more than 300 signatures of students, tourists, and San Diego residents. In four days, we received 1,177 signatures – and still counting. I was surprised to find out that a lot of tourists, who enjoy the beach, took a stake in supporting our grassroots movement.”
Black’s Beach is a two-mile stretch of coastline in La Jolla enjoyed by residents, students, and tourists alike. It is also home to a diverse ecosystem of animals and plants. An abundant reef system near the shoreline makes it a popular fishing spot.
While surrounding beaches near La Jolla limit fishing activities, Black’s offers unrestricted access. The City does not account for this and provides no methods of disposal or recycling appropriate for fishing waste. This leads to hazardous materials, such as fishing lines often being left behind.
Fishing line poses the greatest threat to the entirety of the beach's environment for four reasons: it’s ugly; it kills wildlife, birds, fish, and seals are at great risk of entanglement leading to amputated limbs, strangulation, and ultimately death; it gets in waterways; and it becomes part of the food chain.
Fishing line consumed by San Diego sea life retains chemical properties that remain in the food chain as microplastics, and pose future health risks for all consumers, including humans.
There are trash cans at the entrances and exits to Black’s Beach. “But they are not the kind that can hold fishing line in a way that will keep it away from birds,” noted Tesis.
The waste disposal sites being proposed by Triton Lobby Corps are composed of five main pieces, a 6-inch PVC pipe, a PVC elbow, a PVC female threaded adapter, a PVC threaded plug, and adhesive. These materials can be found in any average department store and cost around $40-50.
Tesis pointed out the proper signage to indicate that it is for fishing-line only will cost $20, with the total cost coming to around $60 to $70.
“This is a low-cost project with benefits that can not otherwise be obtained,” said Tesis. He added, “The materials disposed of in the bins can be picked up by outside organizations to properly recycle the lines and turn them into other fishing gear. It is a proven success throughout California.”
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