GALVESTON, Texas – Galveston Bay is vitally important to the greater-Houston area. From recreation to industry and trade, the bay is a critical part of our life.
Making sure it remains viable and useable is critical, and is Galveston Bay Foundation’s mission.
Sasha Francis is Galveston Bay Foundation’s Community Engagement Coordinator said, “It’s believed about 80% or marine debris comes from land sources.”
Francis explained what originates in the bay, comes back to the bay.
“Today, we are doing one of our marine debris surveys,” said Francis.
One hundred meters of shoreline, from water to vegetation, volunteers collect debris from four random sections.
“We pick up everything bottle-sized or larger, put it into a bucket,” explained Francis. “This is only a little sample of what we collect.”
Alice Oquin and her husband Wayne volunteer their time once a month to participate in the marine debris survey. The couple catalogues the pollution.
“‘Wayne, you want to get a data sheet?’” Asked Alice.
Wayne Oquin explained, “This study kind of gets it, what’s causing it, where it’s coming from, how we can identify and solve the problem.”
Wayne is out on the beach line along Texas City Dike walking with a cane.
“We are concerned about marine life, turtles, fish, birds. We have come to learn the ocean has become terribly polluted, with plastic,” Wayne said.
“I think we won’t discuss this,” exclaimed Alice as she catalogued trash. “Trying to keep the bay good for future generations.”
“The watershed of Galveston Bay is actually encompassing of half of Texas’ population. It’s huge, it starts above DFW, encompasses those two major cities,” said Francis. “All of our rivers, streams and bayous connect through that big system into the bay and out to the Gulf.”
Francis has advice for people who want to take immediate action to help our environment including the Bay.
“People can reduce their single-use plastic wastes,” Francis said.
She also suggests organizing a citizen science project, such as nurdle patrol.
“Anywhere you go, along the shoreline, you can look for these nurdles, these little plastic pellets used to make all plastic products, and just count how many you find in 10 minutes,” Francis said.
Francis said people can send their data into Galveston Bay Foundation. Seventy percent of what’s collected in the bay is plastic, according to Francis.
Galveston Bay Foundation conducts this once a month at seven different locations around the bay. To get involved, click here.