If you're hitting the beach this summer, two Carlsbad sisters are hoping you'll be kind to the ocean. Kimberly and Megan Chang-Haines are on a mission to share some haunting statistics. According to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 100,000 marine mammals die from trash-related deaths every year.
Seventeen-year-old Kimberly and 15-year-old Megan founded a nonprofit organization, New Ocean Blue, to help educate the younger generations about plastic pollution. The girls are students at and travel to other schools to spread their important message.
"The oceans are so plentiful," Kimberly said. "Having one right in our backyard, so close, gives us a reason to care."
NOAA said 80 percent of trash in the ocean comes from land and the remaining portion from boats, with plastic being one of the most dangerous predators.
The sisters created New Ocean Blue the summer after Kimberly's freshman year and Megan's seventh grade year. That's when they came across disturbing facts regarding plastic pollution. The girls decided to take a unique approach and reach out to youth.
"It's definitely easier to change the mindset of a kid, versus an adult," Megan said. "Even if you're not littering, simply using plastic bags still has a big effect when it comes to the ocean and its ecosystem."