FRESNO, California (KSEE) – June 8th is World Ocean Day, but the Fresno Chaffee Zoo tries to raise awareness for ocean safety every day. With today’s pandemic regulations, COVID-19 face masks have made it on the list of how to dispose of certain items properly.
“Watch where your masks go, if you have a disposable mask, when you throw it away, make sure it ends up in a garbage receptacle — we sometimes forget about it, it blows out on the road, that stuff ends up in waterways in our very own San Joaquin River here in the Valley, goes right down into the ocean,” said Ian Taylor, the Conservation Interpretation Manager at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
PPE helps keep us safe, but it can be tough on the environment and pose hazards to the ocean and other wildlife.
“It’s not just fish, because when we think of fish being in the ocean and they are, but that’s not the only thing in the ocean. There are a myriad of sea birds and ocean birds and all kinds of waterfowl even locally here that can be negatively impacted by that stuff.”
The zoo also started an initiative to educate about the dangers posed by improper disposal of plastic items like straws and water bottles and is transitioning to aluminum cans. Zoo officials say it’s vital kids learn about the importance of healthy oceans.
“If we start with kids and really young, we start with the messaging then it will become ingrained, you see kids that are here even with the masks and throwing them away and stuff or throwing plastic — mom, dad, recycle that, that doesn’t go in the trash, that goes in there.”
Five-year-old Kinsley is ready to teach her own lessons after today’s zoo visit.
“Littering is not good. So, you can’t litter.”
The Chaffee Zoo also held a scavenger hunt for World Ocean Day where families and kids were able to search for answers to important facts on oceans and marine wildlife.