On the Worlds ocean day 2020, I thought it would be a good idea to look at ways we can all help protect our Oceans as they are vital to all life on earth and at the moment our oceans are in a bad state and are currently just getting worse but if we all work together and do our little bit we can turn the tide against plastic pollution, ocean acidification, and pollutant runoff which is a great thing for all life on this Earth of ours.
So here are 13 ways we can help so at least one of them should apply to you and if you would like to know more we will be running a Project aware course
later this month where we will talk about the effects we are having and go into more detail on how we can all help.
By using less water there is less runoff into the Seas and Oceans. The runoff carries pollutants and sediment out into the Ocean and using less water is better for the environment and your pocket as we have to pay for all the water we use. Although most cleaning products are broken down in the treatment plants most of the base chemical compounds are still in the water and flash out to sea where they make their way into the food chain and water cycle, plus remember, not all water goes through the treatment plants. Remember when David Walliams swam the length of the themes river for charity and was warned then they had opened the sewers due to the amount of water. A WWF investigation found up to 14% of overflows are opened at least once a week.
- Conserve Water
The changing weather patterns will also lead to water shortages and increased stress on the environment so by cutting back on the amount of water we use will not only reduce the runoff through the sewers and thus the risk of chemical being flushed out into the oceans but will also help future generations.
Plus, like I mentioned the less water you use the less you have to pay so it’s a win-win.
Global fisheries are on the verge of collapse. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), three-quarters of the world’s fisheries are now overexploited, fully exploited, significantly depleted, or recovering from overexploitation. Carry a sustainable seafood card and ask your seafood restaurant or fish market to buy from sustainable fisheries. Look for special terms like "line caught", "diver caught", "sustainably caught" or "sustainably harvested and you can also cut back on the amount of fish and seafood you eat. Switching for having fish once a week instead of twice a week will make a big difference.
- Eat sustainable seafood.
Alternatively, you cut fish out altogether as I have. As a scuba diver, I just prefer to see my fish swimming around rather than on a plate. Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of fish and who doesn’t like fish finger sandwiches with a bit of tomato sauce but you can easily find alternatives in most supermarkets nowadays so it's not as much of an inconvenience as you might think.
Avoid products produced through unsustainable or environmentally harmful methods. For example, avoid cosmetics containing shark squalene and jewelry made of coral or sea turtle shell. These products are directly linked to unsustainable fishing methods and the destruction of entire ecosystems.
- Buy ocean-friendly products.
There are a number of ocean-friendly products out there and here are a few examples
Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is making our oceans more acidic. One consequence could be the loss of corals on a global scale, as their calcium skeletons are weakened by the increasing acidity of the water. There are many simple ways you can reduce your energy use. Ride a bike, walk or use public transportation. Use high-efficiency appliances in your home. Turn off appliances when they aren’t in use. Turn up your thermostat a few degrees in the summer and down a few degrees in the winter
- Reduce energy use.
One really easy way I have found is to use the ECO settings on your washing machine and dishwasher, Yes it takes a little longer to run but it saves water and energy with very little effort on your part, plus again it will save you money.
Plastic debris in the ocean degrades marine habitats and contributes to the deaths of many marine animals. Because floating plastic often resembles food to many marine birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals, they can choke or starve because their digestive systems get blocked when they eat it. Help prevent these unnecessary deaths—use cloth grocery bags and reusable water bottles.
- Use reusable plastic products.
Motor oil and other hazardous materials often end up washing into coastal areas because they aren’t disposed of properly. This pollutes the water and hurts the overall health of our oceans. Be sure to dispose of hazardous waste in an environmentally safe way. Your local recycling centre should have places for you to dispose of waste chemical and motor oil on-site so check your local government website for its location.
- Properly dispose of hazardous materials.
Electing the right public officials is essential to good ocean policy. Do your research and make an informed decision. Exercise your right to vote and stay involved after Election Day. If you have concerns or questions, contact your council or MP.
- Vote responsibly. Contact your representative.
When fertilizers are used in gardening and agriculture, the excess eventually ends up in the ocean. One result is a “dead zone”—an area with very low levels of oxygen in the water—the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico during the spring and summer. Since all marine life requires oxygen to live, including fish and shrimp, they must flee the area or die. Many other coastal areas are at risk too. So, use fertilizer sparingly and remember more is usually not better.
- Use less fertilizer.
Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem.
- Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner
Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you are set on taking a cruise for your next holiday, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option. For us Scuba divers, we can normally find a responsible dive boat and on the Underwater Adventures last liveaboard trip we were even given aluminum water bottles to keep so we would use plastic while on the boat.
- Travel the Ocean Responsibly
Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Consider patronizing restaurants and grocery stores that offer only sustainable seafood and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or at the seafood counter.
- Influence Change in Your Community
Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national organization and consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy. If you live near the coast, join up with a local branch or group, and get involved in projects close to home.
- Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean
All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you will want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others. With this in mind, Underwater adventures will be running a project aware course over Zoom on the 24th June where we will talk about how we affect the oceans and marine life, the work Project Aware does to protect the oceans, and how you can help with just small changes to the way we live our lives. If you would like more information on the course or would like to know how to sign up please check out the Underwater Adventures Project Aware page by clicking here.
- Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life