Marines contribute unique ecosystems to the earth. Without this delicate balance, the earth would be in dire trouble. This is why marine conservation is so important!
Marine pollution is a major problem. Citing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is it’s own island at this point with an approximated surface area of 1,6 million square kilometres, it is said to be 3 times the surface area of France, or double the size of Texas.
For many people, when thinking about marine pollution, the image of floating rubbish, plastic bottles and oil spills may come to mind. One form of marine pollution is an invisible one: Chemicals. Chemical pollution in the world’s waters can come from both direct, indirect and atmospheric processes. For example, the Ocean Health Index states that mercury is an atmospheric pollutant from industrial activity which is then absorbed into the atmosphere and resettled via rainfall into marine areas. The marine plant life then absorbs this mercury, which is consumed by fish, resulting in a direct contamination of our food supply.
Marine conservation efforts, put simply, are initiatives which help to protect and preserve the marine areas. There are a variety of different focuses regarding marine conservation. Some organisations can have a specific focus such as sea turtles, cleaning pollution, education, coral reefs…even sharks! While larger marine conservation societies may have a much broader approach to the challenge at hand.
When travelling, taking a marine ecotour with a focus on preservation is a recommended way to spend a great day having fun, learning and doing good things!
Online listings of national marine conservation organisations from around the world can be found on the Marine Bio website here.
What can we do?
Simple actions can be taken at an individual level to help reduce the amount of pollution going into our marine areas. These actions may seem small, but if many people take these actions, the reduction in marine pollution can be a drastic one.
Some simple actions include:
- Using coral reef friendly sunscreen products
- Using cloth bags for transporting the day’s needs will help to eliminate the number of single use plastic bags blown into the water.
- Engage in a marine ecotour with a focus on helping the area. Ecotours with a focus on marine conservation activities such as planting coral reefs!
- Utilise reusable items for items such as drink bottles in order to eliminate single-use plastic items which can end up in waterways.
- Take your rubbish away with you and dispose of it in the proper receptacles.
As regards an individual’s contribution to marine pollution, not all of the marine pollution comes from day trippers to the marine areas. Barges transporting waste have a tendency to leave a trail of rubbish, chemicals find their way into the waters, etc. There are some actions which can be taken by the individual with a bit of longer term thinking.
Actions for the longer term:
- Support marine conservation initiatives even from the comfort of home by sharing information, supporting online or spreading the word via social media
- Be in the know; Research if your area rubbish disposal is transported via waterway to its final destination and try to reduce the personal amount of waste generated towards a zero waste goal.
- Dies and chemicals from the clothing industry are big water pollutants in those areas. Shop responsibly, or try to limit the amount of new clothing items purchased to a smaller overall amount.
Would you be interested in engaging in marine conservation activities during your next trip?
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