For scuba divers, the ocean is our playground which is why we want to keep it as protected as possible. Here are four ways to ensure our blue waters get back in shape for the generations of divers to come.
Pass on the Plastic
It’s estimated that there are millions of tons of plastic floating in our oceans that are swept in from streets, rivers and storm drains during heavy rains. (It’s not just from throwing trash overboard.) Once there, plastic harms birds and sea life that either get tangled up in the trash or mistake it for food and ingest it. And the problematic plastic isn’t going away any time soon. It takes up to 1,000 years or longer for it to biodegrade. Scientists estimate that the size of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch may cover an area twice the size of Texas or more.
Safe Alternatives: While recycling is the obvious solution, the biggest way to reduce plastic consumption is to stop buying water, bring your own travel mug to Starbucks and cook more often to reduce all of those containers and plastics. You may even find you’re eating a little healthier, too.
Skip the Balloon and Lantern Releases
It might seem like an innocent idea, but releasing balloons or sky lanterns, including the ones labeled “biodegradable,” can travel thousands of miles until they eventually land on the ground or water in the form of litter. What’s worse: birds, animals and marine life mistake the debris for food which clogs the digestive system and leads to starvation.
Safe Alternatives: Blow bubbles, plant a tree or write a wish on flying wish paper, roll it up, light it and let it go. The latter leaves minimal ash without harming the environment.
From washing the dishes to cleaning the floors, even if you don’t live near the coast, anything that goes down your drain can eventually end up in the ocean.
Forgo the bleach and harsh chemicals by choosing non-toxic cleaning products and low-phosphate detergents. High phosphate levels in water systems can cause algae blooms that deplete the waters of oxygen, which causes marine life to suffocate and eventually die.
Safe Alternatives: You can get your home spic and span without all that chemical help by using vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. (You may even save some money, too).
With all of the overfishing happening throughout the world, the phrase “plenty of fish in the sea” is quickly becoming a thing of the past. And it’s not just the fish populations that are being depleted. Each year, billions of unwanted fish and other animals including dolphins, marine turtles, seabirds, sharks, and corals, die due to illegal and destructive fishing practices.
Safe Alternatives: While giving up seafood is one option, you can still enjoy fish as long as you order options from a sustainable menu. Not sure which fish is safe to eat? Check out our article “How to Make Responsible Choices at the Seafood Counter” or use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide.
Ready to start making a positive change and help save the ocean? Take action with Project AWARE and scuba divers around the world and get involved in projects close to home to protect our underwater environments.