Youth-Led Organization Fights to Save Marine Wildlife

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Stow It-Don’t Throw It is a recycling and marine conservation project based out of Sarasota, Florida, created in 2008 by a student leader, Sean Russell. Fishing can pose some problems to the environment when the equipment is not properly disposed of. For example, monofilament fishing line can take up to 600 years to decompose. Wildlife such as sea turtles, fish, manatees, and birds can get entangled in the fishing line, which can result in injury or death.

 

Many people who fish dispose of their fishing line by carelessly throwing into the water, either because they are lazy or they are not informed about the potential threat it to marine wildlife. The goal of Stow It- Don’t Throw it is to protect the animals and their environment by educating people about alternatives to throwing out their fishing line. The project is engaging community members of all ages to raise awareness and encourage more sustainable fishing practices.

 

Part of the environmental education is helping children create personal sized fishing line recycling cans, constructed out of recycled tennis ball cans. Fishers are encouraged to store their used fishing line in the homemade recycling cans until they are able to dispose of it in one of the larger recycling bins that the Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program (MRRP) of Florida has provided. These cans are made out of recycled PVC pipe and can be found in various locations across the state of Florida.

 

Stow It- Don’t Throw It is all about educational outreach, and they don’t stop at the younger community members. Volunteers carry out campaigns at fishing tournaments, boat shows, and environmental festivals to inform the public about how to reduce their impact on marine wildlife; the project empowers youth by enabling them to distribute their homemade recycling cans to people attending these events.

 

Stow It-Don’t Throw It plans to expand to other counties in Florida, and other states in order to engage people from all over the country in the fight to reduce marine debris.

 

For more information about this Earth Savers Club partner, please visit: http://www.stowitdontthrowitproject.org

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