Each year, millions of people eagerly prepare for their much-awaited vacations, seeking solace on the most beautiful shores scattered across the globe. These sandy hotspots offer the perfect escape for leisurely afternoons of sun-soaked relaxation and swimming in the oceans. Our beaches and oceans are undoubtedly, nature’s breathtaking marvels that should be cherished, but they are currently facing a distressing crisis of pollution. From harmful carbon emissions to unfathomable quantities of plastic and household pollutants, the perils faced by marine life are escalating.
It is vital for everyone to realize that merely enjoying our oceans’ beauty is not sufficient and we must actively seek to maintain their cleanliness. That said, we have decided to list some of the ways you can contribute to the preservation of these aquatic habitats.
To effectively clean up the waters, it is important to understand why and how they become polluted. The first step is to garner knowledge. You can do this easily by leveraging the internet,visiting coexistprojects.com, watching a documentary or even borrowing a book from the library. There are numerous ways to learn about the ocean even without leaving the comfort of your house. Start by finding out how plastic bottles end up in the ocean and how engine oil from your car can make its way into nearby water bodies through the sewer system. Dig further and you’ll be able to uncover even lesser-known forms of pollution like underwater noise pollution.
Reduce Plastic Use
Minimizing plastic usage is beneficial for numerous reasons, but when it comes to preserving the oceans, it’s even more crucial. Let’s take a minute to understand the gravity of the situation: An estimated 8 million tons of plastic make their way into the oceans each year, wreaking havoc on water quality and aquatic life all over the world. To add some perspective, in the Los Angeles area alone, about 10 tons of plastic fragments get into the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis.
Among the most wasteful items are single-use plastics, but they are the easiest to do away with. Rather than purchasing bulk quantities of single-use plastic water bottles, opt for reusable bottles that can be refilled repeatedly. Also, there is a growing movement among certain restaurants, cities, and even countries that are getting rid of plastic bags, straws, utensils, and other items that can be replaced with more sustainable alternatives. So, do not hesitate to make these changes in your household as well.
Hold Companies Accountable
Reducing the use of plastic is not solely the responsibility of individual consumers, but extends to businesses of all sizes. So, do not be afraid to take the initiative to identify companies that prioritize sustainable packaging and minimize plastic usage, as well as those that do not. If you notice excessive waste from your local café or take-out spot, don’t hesitate to speak up. You can also play your part by informing them you do not need paper napkins or plastic utensils if you intend to eat at the office or at home.
If the problem is with a larger chain, send them an email or a message on social media informing them of the issue. Take this chance to delve further. While harmful microbeads may be banned in the U.S. for their detrimental effects on the oceans, it’s worth looking into their status in other countries. Also, determine whether the products you use are truly free from these microbeads. While you may be conscientious about practicing clean ocean habits, some companies may not.
Be Mindful of the Chemicals You Use on Your Lawn or Garden
Fertilizers, pesticides, and weed killers are commonly utilized in gardens and lawns worldwide, but their impact on water bodies can be highly detrimental. Weed killers and pesticides contain hazardous chemicals, and while they may benefit your plants and garden, these substances ultimately make their way into the water systems and if you live in close proximity to an ocean, you can bet they will end up there in no time.
Fertilizers also have a noteworthy impact on the ecosystem. When the excess nutrients are carried by wind and water to various water bodies like streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans, they can trigger an unnatural proliferation of algae. This accelerated algae growth not only releases toxins that can harm marine life but also deplete oxygen levels in certain water areas, creating ‘’dead zones’’. Astonishingly, there are about 500 dead zones globally, covering an area of approximately 245,000 square kilometers (equivalent to the size of the UK). Fortunately, there are ways to nurture your garden while still safeguarding the environment.
Understand the Harm Individual Litter Brings
It should be common sense to clean up after yourself whenever you visit the beach, but a quick glance at the sand will tell you not everyone does. You will likely come across stray bottles, napkins, bags, and cans scattered along the shoreline. What many people fail to realize is that even a single piece of litter can cause significant issues. Wind can carry these items, leading to entanglement around birds’ necks’ and other animals, and ultimately, carried out to the sea by the tides.
So, hold everyone in your group accountable for their own mess and if you come across litter that’s not yours, pick it up and dispose of it properly. Remember that soda can or plastic bag possess an immediate threat to marine life, so picking them up is a step toward protecting our oceans.