Why Styrofoam Boogie Boards, Surfboards and Paddle Boards are bad for the ocean


A few times in a given week, Mission Beach resident, Cathy Ives wakes up in the early hours of the morning to stroll Mission Beach and pick up what others have left behind the day before. Her journey is filled with kids toys, towels, clothes, shoes, balls and also Styrofoam surfing gear. Cathy has the best insights on how to keep our beaches clean and tidy for all to enjoy. Read these interesting facts about Styrofoam Boogie Boards courtesy of resident beachcomber Cathy Ives.

An average day in South Mission Beach Oceanfront one can pick up 10 Boogie Boards and parts laying in the sand and or drifting out to sea. That combined with the numerous broke boogie boards in trash can add to toxic waste on beaches.

Cheap, single Day-Use Styrofoam boards are one of the most common types of litter left on tourist beaches. They are a disposable 1 ride only and break easily. Made with Styrofoam, they break into millions of Styrofoam pellets littering the tide line and are easily eaten by marine animals.

Animals mistake the white pellets for food and it clogs up the stomach-gullet wherein the animal literally starves to death. The pellets are toxic and a probable carcinogen based on benzene. When marine animals eat Styrofoam, it works it way up the food chain and eventually into humans

In 2006, the United Nations Environment Program estimated every square mile there was 46,000 pieces of floating Styrofoam in the oceans that can kill all kinds of birds and fish.

A Californian case study showed that 162 marine species, mostly seabirds, were reported to have eaten Styrofoam and other plastics.

It is not only the board itself, but hundreds of broken leashes are strewn all over the beach. Animal get caught in the leashes and die.

The outside nylon material on $9.00 boogie covering is just as toxic. The harder boogie boards such as Moray have an outside strap which easily comes off, adding more plastic to the ocean.

Not So Fun Facts about Styrofoam

  • Much of those white glimmering pieces in the sand are actually Styrofoam.
  • Broken Boards are a global issue.
  • Polystyren does not biodegrade .
  • Park and Recreation Department does not go on the ‘wet’ to pick up boogie boards.
  • There is no way to pick up all the styrofoam on the beach from broken boards.
  • San Diego banned Styrofoam (2018) on beaches until the Restaurant Industry decided to sue.

Fun Facts about Styrofoam

  • The Styrofoam can be recycled.
  • Styrofoam has been banned in many cities, states and countries around the world.
  • Scientists are discovering a few animals such as barnacles and mealworms that appear to safely consume plastic

What You Can Do?

  • Purchase a better quality Board which will last for years.
  • If a board breaks, pick up the pieces and safely dispose of in the trashcan.
  • Never leave any boards on the beach. They are not reused by people and must be picked by the Park and Recreation Department.