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San Diego Whale Watch sees shift in ocean garbage due to pandemic

San Diego Whale Watch
Posted at 6:32 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 21:32:59-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Whale Watch is a company that not only takes visitors out to the open water to try to see sea creatures, but they’re trying to protect the environment at the same time.

Tai Hee, a deckhand and naturalist at the company, said they always see trash on their trips and always try to clean it up if they can.

Prior to the pandemic, mylar balloons were a constant problem for them. Photos shared with ABC 10News show picture after picture of employees pulling balloons out of the water.

According to Hee, that specific kind of trash became less constant through the past year, but they’re now seeing a new growing problem.

“We’ve definitely seen a shift in the type of trash and the location of it. Specifically in the Quivira Basin around here and in our coastal cleanups, you obviously see a ton of PPE and masks and gloves and everything,” said Hee.

San Diego Whale Watch organizes monthly beach cleanups to help fight the problem. The next one will be June 23 at 5:30.

Hee said a lot of the trash they see throughout the year is plastic and encourages people to take simple steps that will help get rid of the plastic problem.

“Anything that you can replace with a long-term reusable option. Bags, metal straws, reusable water bottles. Anything that’s plastic you can pretty much replace with a reusable option,” he said.

He also encourages everyone to take a whale watching trip, hoping that people will be inspired to take action.

“If people don’t care, they’re not going to do anything about it so by showing them the beautiful creatures of the ocean and giving them that literally eye-to-eye experience, hopefully, we’re cultivating that love for the ocean which will translate into action,” said Hee.