Everyone has a part to play in keeping oceans clean and healthy. Here are some ways concerned individuals of all ages can help.
Do away with disposable plastics. Use reusable alternatives to single-use plastics such as plastic bags, water bottles, to-go containers, takeaway cups and straws, all of which clog the oceans and endanger 600 aquatic species due to ingestion or entanglement.
Green what drains. Anything that washes down the drain can end up in waterways. Avoid dumping chemicals like paint, oil and solvents and opt for non-toxic cleaning products like DIY cleaners made from vinegar and baking soda, which are safe for people and the seas.
Eat smart. Per a 2016 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report, nearly a third of commercial fish stocks are now fished at dangerously unsustainable levels. Find best choices on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s downloadable sustainable seafood guide and app at SeafoodWatch.org when dining or shopping, and ask seafood eateries and fish counters to carry ocean-friendly selections.
Reduce fertilizers. Fertilizer runoff from gardens and commercial agriculture eventually end up in oceans, leading to “dead zones” with low levels of oxygen that kill aquatic life.
Cut energy use. Carbon dioxide from fossil fuel consumption is turning oceans acidic, which is particularly harmful to coral reefs. Use energy-efficient appliances and vehicles, opt for renewable energy plans from local utilities and bike, walk and take public transit.
Primary sources: Ocean.si.edu; Ocean.org; Ocean.NationalGeographic.com.