Meta-Description: You might think twice about taking seashells or grains of sand as souvenirs after learning why they should stay on the beach.
Beach resorts have continued to attract tourists with their pristine waters, fine sand, and picturesque spots for your travel blog or Instagram feed. Some resort developments even have ornate seashells, exoskeletons of sea animals, and dead corals washed to the shores that add to the beauty of the oceanscape. But before you take them home as nautical souvenirs, you might want to think about the consequences of taking away these precious ocean treasures from their natural habitat.
Here are five reasons you should not take any seashell, coral, stone, and sand from your favorite beach resorts.
Some Marine Organisms Use Them for Shelter
Seashells and dead corals provide temporary shelter and defense for sea animals such as hermit crabs and fish. Algae, seagrass, barnacles, and sea sponges, among other creatures, depend on seashells and corals to latch on to, multiply, and provide food for millions of underwater species.
Birds Use Them for Building Nests
Sea organisms aren’t the only ones depending on the stony exterior of shells and corals. Birds use them to build durable nests for shelter and to hold their eggs. Taking seashells and corals may lead to birds building weaker nests and a decline of bird species living in that beach.
Sand Widens the Beach
Sand widens the beach and helps reduce storm damage to coastal properties. Sand also keeps the sea as far from the coastal line as possible. Taking away sand from every beach resort you visit lessens the sand that holds the seawater and keeps it from damaging and flooding the beach houses, souvenir shops, and hotels in the resort’s accommodation area.
Taking Sand is Illegal
In many beach resorts in the Philippines and abroad, taking sand is illegal as sand is considered a resort owner’s or the government’s property. Sand theft is also illegal because it takes away viable nesting grounds for sea turtles to lay their eggs. For example, the fine white sand in Pico de Loro in Nasugbu, Batangas, is a breeding ground for thousands of green sea turtles that the resort development takes care of. Taking sand from the beach may seem harmless, but it is detrimental to the sea and its creatures’ health and growth.
More Sand and Seashells Means Healthy Beach Ecosystem
They might seem like decorative inanimate objects, but they play a vital role in the procreation, sustenance, and beach resort longevity. Many birds and sea organisms depend on the shells and corals for food and defense from predators. In a study quoted by the Smithsonian Magazine, the decline of calcium carbonate recycled from shells, corals, and animals’ exoskeletons correlates to drastic habitat changes and a drop in diversity and abundance in marine life and plants. Leaving the sand and seashells leads to a healthy symbiosis between the sea, its creatures, and tourists.
Before you take that empty shell or bottle of sand home, consider the consequences. Leave them to ensure the natural beauty and wellness of your favorite seaside respite and the health of the beach’s ecosystem.