Calling on the AVP and Beach Volleyball Players to Respect Our Oceans

By Katheryn Keller

As a lifelong beach volleyball fan, and new transplant from Santa Barbara, CA to Brooklyn, NYC, I was thrilled to hear that the AVP was playing near my new home right on the Hudson River in early June.

As a long-time steward of the planet, I was beyond appalled when I arrived and watched all 222 players hydrate with single-use plastic water bottles, throughout ALL of the games scheduled morning through night, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in 80+ degree heat! I struggled to pay attention to the matches as I watched each player burn through 2-6 bottles per game (2 players per team, 2-3 games per set, 4 full days of play on multiple courts…. staggering numbers!)

I had to speak up. I talked to at least ten staff members about the extreme wastefulness that was occurring on the beach and during the UN’s Ocean Week, and they each basically replied “yeah we know… it’s something we’ve been working on.”

Sign the petition to tell the AVP to stop using single-use plastic water bottles.

I followed up those in-person conversations with an email and received the following reply:

“Thanks for reaching out with your concerns. The environment is definitely a concern of ours, and while we do recycle the plastic bottles, we understand that it can be a waste to have these single-use bottles. Unfortunately due to some sponsor contracts, we must use certain branded plastic water bottles amongst all athletes and staff. We know that in this sense, the environment is somewhat put on hold, and while we try to represent professional beach volleyball and the beach in every way, we understand that this may not be possible at all times. Thank you for your feedback.”

I’m not sure how many staff/volunteers they had, but this reply only angered me further. These are professional athletes who have used the beach, day in and day out, since 1983 for their livelihood and stand to make hundreds of thousands of dollars every year at the ocean’s expense.

I was further angered to not receive a response in reply to another email where I volunteered to help them secure more environmentally-friendly water sponsorships (something I have experience in) for tours going forward.

Equally disappointing was that there were NO recycling bins present at the event, and even worse, I sadly watched (and filmed) plastic spoons and plastic wrappers from vendors floating in the Hudson River during the 4-day event.

More than 8 million tons of plastic pollution ends up in our waterways and oceans every year, wreaking havoc on wildlife and fragile ecosystems. It’s time all of us stopped using single-use plastic like bottles, bags, cups, and straws.

It’s time the AVP and beach volleyball players stopped contributing to the problem and made better choices for the health of marine wildlife and our oceans.

Sign the petition to tell the AVP to stop using single-use plastic water bottles.

Put pressure on the AVP in person! Games start in Manhattan Beach, CA, August 17-20 and Chicago, IL, August 31 to September 3.

Katheryn Keller is from Orange County, CA (home of the AVP). After spending her entire life in CA, she moved to Brooklyn, NY, earlier this year. She is a former Committee Member and a current Ambassador. She is passionate about educating the public on the issue of plastic pollution and corporate environmental responsibility.

6 responses to “Calling on the AVP and Beach Volleyball Players to Respect Our Oceans”

  1. Incredibly insightful Katheryn. Thank you for sharing this. As someone who works with professional athletes I 100% get this petition and support it. I work mainly with surfers and the upside is that they are generally deeply committed to ocean preservation and are heavily invested in reusable bottle solutions. Lakey Peterson, whom my company works with for example, is sponsored by Hydroflask. Surfers see first hand every day, all around the globe, the devastating effects of single use plastics. Your voice on this matter is deeply appreciated – keep fighting for our oceans future!

  2. says:

    Thank you for bringing this to light. We need to do everything we can to preserve our beautiful beaches and oceans.

  3. Surfrider Chicago will continue to shine a light on this topic, and remain extra vigilant, having partnered with volleyball events here.

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