Our Oceans. Our oceans take up 71% of the earth and contain over 1 million known plant and animal species. Oceans have an impact on everybody someway or another. The air you breathe, water you drink and food you eat, and the products that keep you living comfortably, all can come from or be transported by the ocean.
I live in New Zealand. The clean, green place which I am so glad to call home. The air is fresh and the sea is clean and crystal clear. I am able to watch the stars (and the shooting stars) at the beach, swim and snorkel happily and breathe fresh, non toxic air. Sometimes I can’t help but feel a sense of sadness in the world because I could very easily be one of the many people in China breathing in the toxic, over polluted air or the people in India drowning in rubbish.
Earlier last year, I had a Taiwanese homestay for 3 weeks. One night we were out on the deck eating dinner. She was tapping me on the shoulder and pointing at the bright white stars above. I then realised that we often take the things we have for granted (too often.) How would you feel to be breathing in toxic air or be drowning in rubbish?
Today is Earth Day. A day that was created to promote awareness and more appreciation for the Earth’s environment. Many oceans in the world are (and are being) bombarded with pollution. There are approximately 6.1 trillion pieces of plastic debris in our ocean. That is a staggering number (and the numbers are STILL rising). How do you feel about this? One of the many problems of this is that we continue to create HUGE amounts of waste and pollution- our oceans are being greatly affected.
Think of all the marine animals and plants, you wouldn’t like to drink pollutants such as oil, toxic metals or consume plastic bags, cigarettes, bottles or caps!!! This is the case for many marine life such as the turtle, dolphin, sea bird and whale. They are the victims of our unconscious consumerism and habits.
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
I am sure that you have heard of the Great pacific garbage patch before? It is like a trash vortex which contains 7 million tonnes of plastic (is twice the size of Texas and is 9 feet deep). Areas that contain large numbers of plastic are called ocean gyres. These are large systems of moving ocean currents. Because all the water is circulating like a vortex, garbage automatically goes to the middle of it and stays floating there. According to scientist, Charles Moore, the patch is likely to double in size in the next ten years! Already, scientists have found multiple pieces of plastic in 9% of ‘Garbage Patch’ fish. What is that percentage going to be in the next ten years?
But… How can we put a close to this horrible epidemic?
Here are 6 start up ways that you can help to reduce ocean pollution.
Try not to use single-use plastics
Wherever you live, the easiest way that you can reduce your own use of single-use plastics is to not use them. Don’t use plastic bags, plastic water bottles, straws, throwaway cups, utensils, dry cleaning bags, take-out containers, toothbrushes, and any other plastic items that are most often used once and then thrown away. There are alternatives for every one of these and they are all pretty affordable.
– Plastic bags ⇢ Reuseable mesh produce bags
– Straws ⇢ Stainless steel straws
– Throwaway cups ⇢ Keep cup
– Plastic Toothbrush ⇢ Bamboo toothbrush
Support organisations addressing change
There are many non-profit organizations working to tackle ocean plastic pollution. Some of my favs are:
– 5 Gyres
As these are all non profit, they rely on small donations to keep up their incredible work. If you are able to donate to them, head over to there website. Small donations add up!
A huge amount of packaging can be recycled. I would totally recommend that you recycle. This helps keep plastic or packaging out of the ocean and reduces the amount of “new” pieces of debris in circulation.
Do not put objects/liquids down the drain
This is a no brainer, but in most areas, drains lead to the ocean. This means that whatever you put down the deep dark hole that is a drain will make its way to the ocean.
Reduce your carbon footprint and energy consumption
Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work. Often people don’t think about their carbon footprint when it comes to ocean pollution, although it is a major part of it.
– Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs
– take the stairs at work
Educate yourself further about our ocean
All life on Earth is somehow connected to the ocean and its animals or plants. I highly recommend learning about the issues facing this hugely vital system, the more you’ll want to help its health and safety.
“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans” – Jacques Cousteau