#WorldOceansDay is on June 8th. It is an annual celebration of the oceans and how important they are to everyone.
“But what’s that got to do with me?” I hear you say……”I live miles from the ocean”. You probably think it’s a bunch of hippy surfers who have nothing in common with you. Well you are WRONG!!
The oceans are the lifeblood of this planet. They flow over nearly three quarters of the planet and hold 97% of the planet’s water. They produce more than half the oxygen in the atmosphere and absorb most of the carbon from it.
No matter how far from the shore that you live, oceans still affect your life and the lives of your families and friends, classmates and colleagues.
The air that you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, the products that keep you warm, safe, informed, and entertained — all can come from or be transported by the ocean.
So, how does your plastic bag or bottle get into the ocean, and what is the alternative?
World Oceans Day is an annual celebration on June 8th which has been in existence since 2002.
A healthy world ocean is critical to our survival. Every year, World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity to help protect and conserve the world’s oceans. Oceans are very important:
- They generate most of oxygen we breathe
- They help feed us
- They regulate our climate
- They clean the water we drink
- They offer a pharmacopoeia of medicines
- They provide limitless inspiration!
If you participate in a World Oceans Day event or activity this year you can help protect the ocean for the future! It’s up to each one of us to help ensure that our ocean is healthy for future generations. World Oceans Day allows us to:
- Change perspective – encourage individuals to think about what the ocean means to them and what it has to offer all of us with hopes of conserving it for present and the future generations.
- Learn – discover the wealth of diverse and beautiful ocean creatures and habitats, how our daily actions affect them, and how we are all interconnected.
- Change our ways – we are all linked to, and through, the ocean! By taking care of your backyard and helping in your community, you are acting as a caretaker of our ocean. Making small modifications to your everyday habits will make a difference, and involving your family, friends, and community will benefit our blue planet even more!
- Celebrate – whether you live inland or on the coast, we are all connected to the ocean. Take the time to think about how the ocean affects you, and how you affect the ocean, and then organize or participate in activities that celebrate our ocean.
If we do nothing, then the future for our Planet is very bleak. Henderson Island, an uninhabited island in the South Pacific is littered with the highest density of plastic waste anywhere in the world, according to a study. Part of the UK’s Pitcairn Islands group, the island has an estimated 37.7 million pieces of debris on its beaches.
The island is near the centre of an ocean current, meaning it collects much rubbish from boats and South America. The joint Australian and British study said the rubbish amounted to 671 items per square metre and a total of 17 tonnes.
“A lot of the items on Henderson Island are what we wrongly refer to as disposable or single-use,” said Dr Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, described how remote islands act as a “sink” for the world’s rubbish.
In addition to fishing items, Henderson Island was strewn with everyday things including toothbrushes, cigarette lighters and razors. Dr Lavers added “Land crabs are making their homes inside bottle caps, containers and jars,”
“At first it looks a little bit cute, but it’s not. This plastic is old, it’s sharp, it’s brittle and toxic.” A large number of hard hats of “every shape, colour and size” were also discovered, the marine scientist said.
It is hoped that people will “rethink their relationship with plastic”.
Scale of waste
Henderson Island is listed by Unesco as a coral atoll with a relatively unique ecology, notable for 10 plant and four bird species.
It is 190km (120 miles) from Pitcairn Island, about 5,000km from Chile, and sits near the centre of the South Pacific Gyre – a massive rotating current.
The condition of the island highlighted how plastic debris has affected the environment on a global scale, Dr Lavers said.
“Almost every island in the world and almost every species in the ocean is now being shown to be impacted one way or another by our waste,” she said.
“There’s not really any one person or any one country that gets a free pass on this.”
She said plastic was devastating to oceans because it was buoyant and durable.
The research was conducted by the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and the Centre for Conservation Science at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Courtesy of Greg Dunlop, BBC
On World Oceans Day make your first move towards a cleaner, safer ocean by taking the simple step of reducing your use of single-use plastics. Here are 10 simple ways YOU can make difference TODAY!