Written by @Vintagefemme; Tuesday June 30, 2020

Our oceans need us. We can’t keep ignoring the problem our earth is facing and think that we can dissolve the issue by only using superficial solutions. The reality is that if we continue to act (or rather take no meaningful action), our oceans will be gravely harmed. It is now our responsibility as a generation to make a lasting positive change.

water, blue, and summer image

Stats and facts over ocean pollution

Our oceans’ water cover roughly more than 70% of the earth and are our main source of thermal energy making them more crucial to preserve. However, some people in the past believed that because there was a large abundance of ocean water, we could take advantage of it and simply throw out any garbage into it without any consequences almost as though it were like a vast empty void. Recently, in the 1950s-1970s, they came to the realization that this was not in fact true and was actually harming our planet. A few countries from around the world got together and drafted the London Convention which controlled and limited the amount of waste that was being deliberately disposed into the oceans in order to stop their old damaging practices. This was then later updated in 2006 into the London Protocol which is still in effect.

So, what exactly is going into our oceans now?

Under the London Convention/London Protocol, around 500 million tons of dredged material are being annually dumped into the oceans of its participating countries. Additionally, 80% of water pollution actually comes from land sources with plastic being between 60-95% of it (around 8 million annual tons). Strangely though, 60% of all plastic pollution only comes from 5 countries making it a clear and obvious problem. If you were one of those people who supported the straw ban I urge you to also push for a ban on other plastic items which are daily used such as plastic bottles, plastic bags, and also plastic containers because they occupy a bigger percentage of all plastic waste. Afterall, plastic straws are only 2,000 tons out of the 8 million making them roughly 0.025% of all plastic waste in the ocean.

Moving on from plastic, oil spills only account for 12% of overall oil pollution and the rest (or at least 3 times as much) comes from runoff. Then, we also have other problems with pollution manifesting itself in the ocean water. For instance, there are currently 5 garbage patches floating around the oceans and the biggest one is 1.8 trillion pieces of trash making it twice the size of Texas. The problem with this is that the garbage kills the animals whether they choke on it (as with straws and six pack rings), introduce it into their food chain, or the nutrients and chemicals found in the trash eventually create dead zones which eventually deplete the quality of life in an ecosystem eventually killing them off.

header, aesthetic, and ocean image

How it may affect our future

The future of our oceans isn’t looking too good. It is estimated that by the year 2050, we will be producing 3 times as much plastic as we are making the amount of plastic in our ocean outweigh the amount of fish we have. This trend will damage marine life and a change needs to happen now.

beach, summer, and sea image Image by Cherry cola 🍒

Actions that you can take

According to the National Ocean Service, there are 10 simple ways you can help out at home.

1. Conserve water
2. Use less pollutants and more environmentally friendly cleaning products
3. Reduce waste and recycle
4. Shop wisely (less plastic, more sustainable)
5. Reduce usage of polluting vehicles
6. Use less energy
7. Fish responsibly
8. Practice safe boating
9. Respect ecosystems/habitats
10. Volunteer or also sign petitions`

waves, ocean, and sea image aesthetic, sea, and sunset image

Petitions to sign and organizations

Please help by signing petitions, they only take a short amount of time to do!

Ocean sanctuaries (Greenpeace): https://act.greenpeace.org/page/40938/petition/1

Preserving 30% of our planet’s land and oceans entirely: https://www.campaignfornature.org/petition/?SQF_WOD=%3Cworldoceansday%3E

Stop seismic blasts to save the whales: https://environmental-action.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=22442&utm_source=Salsa&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EAC4-FCNS:OCEAN:COAST-0617&utm_content=EM9:01A:0HH-AAP&uid=772129

Even more petitions are linked in this site: https://blueocean.net/petitions/

beach, beige, and blue image

In conclusion, there are many reasons why we need to save our oceans. They are a big part of our planet’s life and matter a lot more than what some of us may believe. I urge all of you to read the sources and inform yourselves more over this issue as well as help with signing petitions.

Thanks for reading!

xx

Sources:

•(https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/oceans/critical-issues-marine-pollution/#close)

•(http://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Environment/LCLP/TC/Documents/London%20Protocol%20Why%20it%20is%20needed%2020%20years.pdf)

•(https://www.conservation.org/stories/ocean-pollution-11-facts-you-need-to-know)

•(https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/news-plastic-drinking-straw-history-ban/)

•(https://www.peta.org/blog/plastic-straws-ocean-animals/)

•(https://www.futureagenda.org/foresights/plastic-oceans/)

•(https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/ocean/help-our-ocean.html)

•(https://www.epa.gov/ocean-dumping/learn-about-ocean-dumping#Before.)

•(https://plastic-pollution.org/#:~:text=The%20United%20Nations%20Joint%20Group,the%20waste%20being%20plastics%20debris.)

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