Plastic pollution: How do we save the oceans?

If you travel on a regular basis, you’ve probably already noticed the large amounts of waste and plastics accumulating in our precious Earth. It obviously didn’t happen over night, but we all have a responsibility to learn about this massive environmental issue. Here are a few tips on what you can do to help save the oceans. 

“The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat” - Jacques Costeau

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I went to swim in the ocean in southern Spain last week: not only the beaches were full of waste; the water, too. Scientists are talking about the ‘Great Pacific garbage patch’, which was discovered between 1985 and 1988. That’s over 30 years ago, and the floating junkyard is only getting bigger each year. It’s difficult to say how big it is, as it’s mainly consisting of small plastic particles and it’s partly hiding under water, but an estimate is: the size of Texas!

We all know that plastic isn’t healthy, so imagine what happens when it ends up in the stomach of marine animals. They die or get caught by fishermen who sell them to supermarkets and restaurants. And this is how humans are directly affected: if we eat a fish that has been affected by toxic chemicals through plastic particles, we instantly get it in our bodies as well. It’s a toxic circle affecting more and more lives every year.

Photo: sealife.gifts

What can you do?

We obviously need to spread the information to as many people as possible, but as long as plastic is produced, it’ll be used. Still, we can all make a difference: here are 5 easy-to-follow advices.

  1. Clean your household for disposable plastics
    It’s estimated that 90% of plastic items in our daily lives are used once and then thrown away, e.g. grocery bags, plastic wraps, disposable cutlery, straws, coffee lids for to-go-cups etc. These items are not really important to you and in most cases, you can easily replace them with reusable versions. Make it a habit to bring your own shopping bag to the grocery store and support brands that don’t use plastic wrapping etc.
  2. Help take care of your local beaches
    It’s obvious that you should always clean up after yourself after spending time at the beach, but you’ll be surprised how many actually don’t. Try not to interfere with local wildlife (that also include not removing rocks, corals etc.) and consider participating in local beach clean-ups.
  3. Support organizations
    Find a national organization that you like and consider supporting it economically or become a volunteer. There are many organizations fighting to protect marine life and ocean habitats.
  4. Travel the oceans responsibly
    There are a few things to consider when traveling on water. First of all, you should never throw anything overboard, and if you like to go on cruise holidays, find the most eco-friendly ones. Luxury can certainly be eco-friendly as well - just research your options before. There are also plenty of sustainable options if you want to have fun on the water: kayaking, boating etc.
  5. Educate yourself about oceans and marine life
    It’s should come as no surprise that we’re all connected; animals, people and nature. The more you learn about it, the more you care. Pass on your knowledge and inspire others to engage as well 🙂*Source: National Geographic 

    Manila, Phillipines.
    Photo credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro


Below is the trailer of the documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’ from 2016. The full version can be found on Netflix.

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