Taking place on June 8 each year, World Ocean Day is for raising awareness of the negative impact of human actions on oceans, and for inspiring positive change. As the theme for this year is “Revitalisation: Collective Action for the Ocean” – focusing on actionable steps we can take to restore the oceans to their former glory through collective effort – we’re sharing 8 easy ways to help protect marine life (all from dry land!)
1. BEAT THE MICROBEADS - Despite microbead bans in certain regions, they're still widely used in cosmetic products. Washed down the drain, microplastics can have a toxic effect on aquatic life, reducing food intake and damaging health. New Plastic Soup Foundation research shows that 87% of products from the 10 best-selling cosmetics brands contain what is classed as microplastics. Use their "Beat the Microbead" app to scan personal care products and identify plastic free cosmetics.
2. FLUSH WITH CARE - What we flush down the toilet can harm our marine environment. The Marine Conservation Society advise sticking to ‘the three Ps’ – pee, poo and paper if you are unsure. For wet wipes (even if described as biodegradable) look for the industry approved Fine to Flush label. Flushing inappropriate items can block up sewers, and pollute beaches and seas. It can also negatively impact bathing water quality, which can also be harmful to marine life.
3. TAKE LITTER HOME - Spotted an overflowing bin on your day out? The 'Bin it or Take it Home' sticker campaign is the latest coastal intervention from Keep Britain Tidy, proven to reduce beach litter by up to 59%. This is in response to research findings that 42% of young people aged 18-24 admit to leaving litter after visiting the beach. Trials showed a 55% reduction in those observed leaving their rubbish next to or on top of a bin.
4. PACK A LUNCH - According to the most comprehensive study to date, plastic items from takeaway food and drink dominate the litter in the world’s oceans. Researchers found that single-use plastic bags, bottles, food containers and food wrappers are the four most widespread items polluting the seas, making up almost half of the human-made waste. Opt for reusable sandwich wraps and bags, and make a packed lunch at home to avoid adding any unnecessary waste to your plastic footprint
5. STUB IT OUT - Around 136,000 cigarette butts are discarded every second. Cigarettes contain at least 50 of carcinogenic chemical compounds, and a single cigarette butt can pollute up to 500 liters of water. They are also difficult to recycle, break down into microplastics over many years, and can easily be consumed by wildlife. Researchers have found litter in about 70% of seabirds and 30% of sea turtles. If you smoke, be sure to stub it out and bin it.
6. SUPPORT SAS - Surfers Against Sewage is a leading marine conservation charity started in 1990. Visit their website or follow their social media pages to find out how you can get involved in supporting their campaigns and help secure a thriving future for the ocean. From signing and sharing their petitions, joining a local SAS beach clean or undertaking a fundraising challenge, there's lots to do! Battle Green have been proud SAS supporters since 2018.
7. NATURAL CLEANING - Some household cleaning products can negatively impact water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Chemicals found in these products such as triclosan, phosphates and phthalates can pollute our waterways, leading to algal blooms and can even be detrimental to marine life. Consider simplifying and detoxifying your cleaning routine with some cupboard staples that you might already own (such as white vinegar, lemon rinds and bicarbonate of soda) or choose natural cleaning products like organic dish soap blocks made with coconut oil.
8. KEEP IT DOWN - Over the last 200 years, ocean water has become 30% more acidic, impacted by human-driven increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is contributing to the loss of corals on a global scale as their calcium skeletons are weakened by the increasing acidity of the water. There are lots of simple ways to keep your carbon footprint down, from walking or using public transport, to turning off the lights when you leave a room.
Do you have any more tips for supporting marine life and promoting clean oceans? Please share them below in the comments.