Saturday 8th June is World Oceans Day! The purpose of this event is to celebrate and honour the oceans which cover the earth and spread awareness of the many current threats they face. This has been happening every year since 2002, and 2019’s conservation focus is to ‘demonstrate leadership in preventing plastic pollution and share solutions that inspire and activate the global community.’
Whether on the television, movie screens or on your own local beach I’m sure many of you have witnessed the devastating effects that plastic pollution has on our oceans, but it’s not all doom and gloom; below are some tips on how we can reduce the amount of plastic pollution we create everyday by making simple switches in our everyday lives.
1) Pack a refillable water bottle
A change as simple as buying a refillable water bottle can have a massive impact, currently on average the UK population uses 7.7 billion disposable plastic bottles each year. Think how much plastic (and not to mention money!) you could save just by buying a bottle and refilling it instead of buying a single-use plastic bottle. With more and more locations offering free water refills for people who bring their own bottles it’s becoming easier than ever to do this.
2) Say no to plastic straws
Thankfully, many restaurants and cafes are now getting the message that plastic straws are bad news for our oceans and offering paper alternatives. If you happen to encounter an offer of a plastic straw, just say no! If a straw is a regular necessity for you consider the purchase of a reusable straw. These are often made from bamboo or metal and can be washed and reused again and again!
3) Glass is good
Where possible, choose glass containers over plastic ones, often many products such as sauces and drinks are sold in both plastic and glass bottles and jars. If there is no glass alternative, consider picking tins or cans over plastic alternative as these can be more efficiently recycled then their plastic counterparts.
4) Don’t throw it away…. save it for another day!
Next time you order your favourite takeaway treat, instead of throwing away the boxes, wash them and reuse them for storing food or to transport packed lunches to work or school. You can also do this with plastic bags you may accumulate from supermarkets, it’s a good idea to keep some in your car or bag so you’re always prepared with a reusable bag.
5) Un-bagged is best
Many shops sell fruit and vegetables loose by weight alongside those that are packaged. When you can, choose these loose ones over the pre-bagged and packaged fruit and veg as these are often wrapped in plastic bags and trays when it’s not necessary.
6) Pick up that picnic
Next time you have a nice picnic in a park or beach, make sure that any litter you bring with you gets either deposed of or packed away and taken back home. If you’re feeling especially energetic or have some extra time, spend a few minutes picking up any other litter you see lying around. Just remember if doing this to take care of yourself and never to pick up something harmful or dangerous without the proper equipment.
7) Carry a cup
If your one of the many people who loves a cup of tea or coffee on the go, then it’s worth investing in a reusable travel mug. Not only will you save tons of plastic, but many stores are now offering discounts to those who bring their own reusable cups, so it’s a win for you and the oceans!
Sometimes we can’t avoid plastic in our everyday lives all the time. Don’t feel bad if you end up with some plastic waste at home. Just make sure you wash and recycle it instead of throwing in a bin that goes to landfill. Many local councils now offer their residents recycling bins that’re picked up by the waste services, if yours doesn’t you can always take it to a local recycling centre to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way.
Footage from one of our recent boat surveys with Dolphin Spotting Boating Trips (further evidence of why we need to protect our oceans!):
Hopefully these tips will help you reduce your plastic pollution in your day to day life with just a few easy tweaks. If you want to find out more about world oceans day head to their website www.worldoceansday.org to read about the day or find events near you.
Article written by Research Intern Eleanor Tunick.