MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Every year since 1970, America has taken a day out of the year to celebrate Earth Day, a full day focused on appreciation and awareness of Earth’s natural resources.
Now, more than 40 years later, the United States is still celebrating the holiday. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune has also jumped on the band-wagon and is focusing on reducing the base’s carbon footprint in today’s world where solar energy, recycling and environmental awareness play a key role in almost everyone’s daily life.
Earth Day at the Marston Pavilion aboard the base, April 18 and saw more than 200 middle school students and Marines come through to learn about what the base is doing to help reduce the amount of pollutants getting into the environment.
Environmental Management Division personnel were scattered through the pavilion, as well as companies who have contracts with the base, all of which were showing the eager students and Marines what they were doing to help the environment.
The Base Recycling Center had its own booth and was showcasing the types of plastics and metals that were recycled.
“We have aluminum, shell casings, unusable targets and mosquito netting,” said David Balog, the base recycling coordinator to a group of children gathered around his table. “We don’t make much money off of paper but still recycle it, in the end we make $63 per ton of paper.”
Children also learned about different types of light bulbs and how they can reduce energy consumption just by switching noon.
Progress energy, which provides some power to the base, was on deck to teach the visitors about recycling light bulbs and the benefits of using compact fluorescent lighting compared to incandescent, which uses four times the energy and produces less light.
Focus was also given to water and storm drains. Interactive displays showed how oils, sediment, debris and chemicals can run off of the roads and get into a storm drain that would lead to a lake or reservoir. The water would then make it into the ground water and back into the faucets and hoses of families and businesses.
Another stop focused on animal preservation. The Endangered Species Program focused on the hazards fishing lines can play to animals. Program personnel spoke to the children about how birds, dolphins and turtles can get entangled in the fishing wire if not properly disposed of.
While the Earth Day celebration was going on at the pavilion, another group of Marines and volunteers were celebrating Earth Day in their own way, helping clean up the Northeast Creek, from Camp Johnson up to the Highway 24 bridge, roughly five to six miles of shoreline.
“We picked up tires, bikes barrels and various other trash,” said a volunteer with the alliance. “I strongly believe in a positive environment but you can’t just believe in something and not do it, you have to go out there and show you support it.”