Have you ever been swimming in the ocean and come across a plastic bag? Have you ever been lying on the beach whilst surrounded by pieces of unwanted trash? I certainly have, and I’m sure you have too…
The ocean is the only thing that physically connects each and every one of us around the world, and we desperately need to protect it. Every single day, millions plastic waste items fill up our beaches, oceans and waterways, causing havoc on the natural world.
It’s horrible, to say the very least… But here are a few easy things you can do to help clean up the ocean!
Avoid Polyester clothing
Polyester is a plastic fibre that is typically used in cheap clothing. It’s a popular fashion choice due to the way that it holds its form and doesn’t need any heat to reshape. The problem with this product, however, is that every time the item is thrown into the wash, thousands of little plastic fibres fall out and get swept into the ocean.
It may seem like something so small couldn’t possibly do much harm to the environment, but that’s very far from the case. These tiny plastic fibres are polluting our oceans with every single wash… So much so that our marine species are suffering because of it.
Fish confuse the plastic for food, and as a result, will die before reaching the reproductive age. It’s also been noted that these fibres can build up inside the bodies of whales, which will further contribute to their demise.
The solution really is simple, stick to cotton and linen fabrics wherever possible… It’s better for you, and the planet too!
Say no to single-use plastic
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that single-use plastics are the root cause of this entire issue…
When we go to the supermarket, we grab a plastic bag for just a couple of items. When we buy fruit and veg, most of them are wrapped in unnecessary plastic… To be honest, I totally understand why the issue has progressed so dramatically, it has become so normal in our society that there’s truly no way to escape it.
We dispose of plastics after a single use, often without realising that it will live longer than all of us combined. It will stay buried in the Earth for centuries, it will be digested by confused wildlife, it will tangle marine animals until they can no longer breathe…
If you have the privilege to do so, say no to straws, bags, plastic wrapped produce and the like. Sign petitions to demand that governments make legislative change, and email your favourite brands and corporations and encourage them to make more sustainable plastic-free choices.
It is not just up to consumers, we need to turn off the tap with systemic change.
Leave microbeads on the shelf
Toothpaste, face wash and shower gels — these are just a few of the skincare items that often contain deadly microbeads.
They are teeny tiny little balls of plastic that are intended to exfoliate the skin, however, the problem lies in the fact these tiny little particles are too small for the filtration systems… So when we use them in the shower or basin, they get washed down the drain and straight out to sea.
Just like polyester, these tiny bits of plastic float around in the water for our sea life to consume. Although they may seem like a great idea to exfoliate your face, there are so many natural alternatives that do a much better job, and are better for the environment too!
Donate to the cause
There are so many incredible organizations that help in fighting the demise of our oceans and its wildlife. Giving up as little as your daily coffee or your weekly take-out is all it takes to make a difference.
If donating money isn’t accessible to you (that’s totally okay), then perhaps you could donate your time! Every year on June 8th, the world participates in World Ocean Day – all around the globe there are events in which you can participate in cleaning up the ocean.
It’s also important to remember that this is a systemic issue! Email your MP’s, politicians, head of corporations and demand that they do better. They have shifted the blame onto consumers to avoid taking responsibility, but enough is enough. No matter which option you choose, if we all do our part our oceans will be a much happier place!
Pick up the trash!
When you’re on the beach, pick up the rubbish that’s lying around you. If you see trash floating through our beautiful ocean, swim after it… Go out of your way to literally clean up the earth (if you’re able to of course)!
I honestly can’t imagine a world without our beautiful sea creatures, and if you feel the same way, this is should be your motivation to help clean up the ocean wherever you can.
Picking up trash isn’t going to fix the plastic crisis (we must turn off the tap)… But even if you fill up one small bag every time you go to the beach, or even if you only pick up one plastic bag from the ocean’s waters… You may have saved an animals life, and that’s a wonderful thing!
I’m sure the marine life would thank you if they could!
Reduce Industrialized Fish Consumption
Industrial fishing nets produce more than 48% of the waste in the Pacific Garbage Patch, with a huge amount of all ocean waste coming from fishing products too. The best thing you can do to help clean up the ocean, is to help reduce the number of fishing products we are leaving in the sea to begin with — leaving the oceans to thrive.
Not only does capitalism and the industrial fishing industry cause a large amount of ocean waste, it is also heavily responsible for the collapse of ocean ecosystems, and essentially all life on Earth.
What are your favourite tips to help clean up the ocean? We can all make a difference, and I’m always open to new suggestions – fire away!
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