With ever increasing pollution in and around our coasts, it can often feel like an uphill struggle to start to shift the tide (pun intended). So, we’ve come up with a list of 10 things you can do as an individual to help coastal clean-up efforts – from tackling the problem at its source, to collecting trash and data.
Take part in a coastal clean-up
This might sound obvious, but by taking part in an organised clean-up you can help to reduce the amount of plastic around the coastline near you. It’s also a great place to meet like-minded people and find out if anything else is being organised in your area. There are plenty of ways to find out when and where clean-ups are taking place. You can use worldwide tools such as this one from the International Coastal Clean-up website, or hop onto Facebook and search for local groups in your area.
Start your own clean up initiatives
If you can’t find a pre-organised clean-up in your area, why not organise your own? You could even go one step further, like Martin Dorey and Tab Parry, from the UK did, when they started up their 2 minute beach clean initiative.
If you regularly dive at the same dive site, why not ‘adopt’ it, and keep Project AWARE up to date with the levels of trash in the sea (whilst also removing it).
Dive against Debris and report your findings on the new Project AWARE app
If adopting a dive site isn’t for you, then maybe turning your dives into Dive’s Against Debris, by collecting any rubbish you see on your dives is something you can do. And don’t forget to log your findings on the new app to help Project AWARE to map the debris in the sea!
Take the Underwater Trash Bucket Challenge
Started by The Jetlagged, PADI AmbassaDiver’s™ Claudia and Hendrik, this challenge is making the rounds. So, start diving, clearing, and tagging your friends to join in!
Tackle the problem from the source
Once plastic is in our ocean, it’s already damaging the environment. So, let’s start to tackle the problem from the source – if you reduce your plastic use in the first place there’ll be less to enter our oceans. If you’re not sure how, you may be interested in our article ‘Plastic! Not so Fantastic. Tips on How to Cut Down Waste Everyday’
Make a pledge!
There are plenty of ways to pledge to reduce your impact on the environment, whether it’s going single use plastic free for July, or pledging to give up plastic straws for life. Doing this will really open your eyes to the amount of plastic waste we create every day.
Take your time and do the research
We get that it’s almost impossible to live a life with no impact on the environment, but by taking a bit of time out to research alternative products you can dramatically reduce the amount of waste you produce and the negative impact you have on the coast. By choosing companies with strong environmental policies you can start to reduce your impact – for example choosing to use products from Stream2Sea will ensure you don’t further damage any marine life when you’re in the sea.
Donate to a charity
There are plenty of charities, such as Project AWARE out there doing great work to clean up our coastlines, but as charities they rely on public support, and funding – so if you can’t get out to the coast, you can help from the comfort of your own home.
Sign petitions and spread the word!
Although individual action is vital in the fight against environmental issues it’s ultimately governments and organisations that hold the power to make positive changes in the law to protect our oceans. By adding your name to petitions you are letting them know you want change.
Charities such as Greenpeace and Project AWARE will often create and share these petitions. But don’t forget to look for petitions in your local region too.
And you don’t just have to stop by signing petitions – let your friends and family know what you’re doing, be it through sharing informative posts, petitions or pictures of your Dive against Debris and maybe you’ll inspire someone else to start making positive changes.