In this strange period, we tend to focus on keeping safe and healthy from Covid-19 which is so important but our planet is screaming out for help too. Marine and terrestrial biodiversity, like water, soil and air are essential elements of our environment. They all contribute to ensuring our survival on this beautiful planet we call home. Our oceans are filling up with human waste like plastic, microbeads and sunscreen. Change is inevitable if we want to secure the lives of our children and grandchildren, so let’s start today with taking better care of the world. How? Let’s get into it.
What is marine biodiversity?
Marine biodiversity is an aggregation of a highly inter-connected ecosystem that contains all life in the salt waters of oceans or brackish waters of coastal estuaries. At a fundamental level, marine biodiversity affects the nature of our planet. Marine organisms, mostly microorganisms, produce oxygen and separate carbon. The next time you look at a shoreline, remember that this shoreline is shaped and protected by marine life. Some marine organisms even help create new land. Oceans take up almost 90% of all living space on earth and without water, there would be no life at all. Knowing this, it is important to take good care of our oceans and its diverse inhabitants.
How are we cleaning up the oceans?
When it comes to cleaning up the oceans and making sure we prevent more waste reaching the oceans, The Ocean Cleanup aims to clean up 50% of all plastics in the oceans today. This highly motivated non-profit organization is developing a passive cleanup method, where the use of natural oceanic forces are playing the leading role. By using the oceanic force itself, The Oceanic Cleanup is able to rapidly and cost effectively clean up plastic that is already there. They aim to clean-up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within 5 years.
To prevent more plastic reaching the ocean, this non-profit organization has developed the first scalable solution to effectively intercept plastic in rivers all around the world. They aim to halt 80% of plastic, entering the oceans by tackling a 1000 rivers around the globe.
What can I do to protect and preserve marine biodiversity?
There’s a lot you can do to minimize your ecological footprint and when it comes to protecting and preserving marine biodiversity, it’s all about following a couple of easy rules to make sure you don’t do more harm than necessary.
Step 1: Reduce your use of single-use plastics
The first and most important step to restore the balance in our oceans is to reduce the use of single-use plastics in our everyday lives. Instead of buying a plastic bag in the grocery store, make sure to always carry an organic fabric bag with you in case you need one. Buy reusable straws and take them with you whenever you go out. This way you won’t need a plastic straw anywhere.
The best way to stop using single-use plastic is by replacing them with a reusable product. These are items that are easily replaceable in your everyday life: grocery bags, bottles, cutlery for to-go-meals, take-out containers, coffee-cups and most importantly, straws. To reduce plastic waste worldwide, make sure you encourage businesses to stop selling single-use plastics and replace them by sustainable products. If we all stop buying or accepting single-use plastics, businesses won’t sell. That’s how the simple law of supply and demand works.
Step 2: Vote responsibly
Take action to educate yourself on who you are voting for in elections. Electing the right officials is essential to creating a good ocean policy. Look for politicians that are actively solving pollution problems in our oceans and look for petitions you can sign to help clean up our oceans.
Step 3: Sign up for beach cleanups
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, every beach could use a good cleanup by now. Look for small pieces of plastic that are easily staying unnoticed, motivate your friends and family to help you clean up the beach and most importantly, take your waste home with you after visiting the beach. Tip: use a dense restrainer to filter out microbeads in sand.
Step 4: Clean up the bottom of the shoreline
If you’re living in a place where you’re surrounded by water, where it’s pleasant enough to spend days in the water or where you’re just spending a lot of time in waters around you, it’s important to take good care of your environment. Go on a snorkeling trip and pick up everything you see that don’t belong in the water. Plastic and such can cause so much damage to marine life.
Step 5: Recycle properly
If your plastic products are recyclable, please recycle them properly. Recycling helps reducing new plastic in circulation and keeps plastic out of the oceans. It all starts with education and taking the right steps forward, so start recycling today and build a better place for tomorrow.
Step 6: Avoid products containing microbeads
Microbeads are a great threat for marine life, just as they are a great threat to humans when ingested. Try to avoid purchasing products that contain bags of microbeads or microbeads inside of the product. Microbeads are tiny plastic balls that can be found in some toothpastes, face scrubs and body washes. When you shower with products that contain microbeads, they enter waterways and oceans through our sewer-systems.
Solutions as safety nets at the end of our sewing lines are not enough to stop microbeads from entering the waters. They simply escape through the net and cannot be filtered out of water. Notice how tiny the plastic in your products can be? Try to avoid buying products like these.
Step 7: Spread awareness
The last step might be the most important step to take when it comes to creating a better world for all of us. Spread awareness about how plastic is affecting all of us. If the ocean dies, we all die. Think about the amount of people that will not be able to eat or profit from selling seafood, but that’s not even the most important reason we should preserve and improve the state of our oceans. The ocean is providing 50% of the oxygen we breath and is responsible for regulating our climate. Without it, we won’t be able to breathe and without rain originated from our oceans, we won’t be able to grow anything anymore. Our oceans are precious. Take care of them as if your life depends on it.
Asia’s coral reefs
Did you know that Asia’s coral reefs have the highest biodiversity of all the worlds coral reefs? This region is particularly rich in marine biodiversity due to the high number of islands and an extensive coastline. This coastline contains amazing coral reefs, well established mangroves and seagrass beds. The tropical waters of Indonesia, Malesia and the Philippines among others, are home to the Coral Triangle and must be protected at all costs.
Looking for a way to start helping cleaning up the beaches in Indonesia, the Philippines or Malesia to preserve marine biodiversity? Klick on the links beneath. Is your country missing? Just google: “(your country) beach cleanup” and sign up.