Innovative Ways to Help Keep the Oceans Clean

Everyone knows that trash in the ocean is a big problem, but few people are aware of just how bad it is. The World Economic Forum estimates that over 8 million tons of plastic debris enter the ocean every year and that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea in 2050. If we’re going to keep our oceans clean, it’s important to recognize just how much we contribute to pollution and make changes accordingly.

If you’re concerned about the state of the world’s oceans, here are some ways you can help keep them clean. You don’t have to spend your whole life on the beach volunteering to clean up trash; these creative ideas can help the cause from your home computer or even in the office on an otherwise unproductive day.

Buy Certified Sustainable Seafood

Sustainable seafood, for those of you who don’t know, is seafood that isn’t overfished and is caught in a way that doesn’t endanger other species. There are plenty of ethical seafood options out there, but buying sustainably sourced fish is often more expensive than buying conventional fish. That said, buying sustainable options help ensure we don’t deplete our oceans so quickly.

Use Less Plastic
black plastic bag

Between plastic bags and water bottles, there’s no denying that our landfills are overstuffed with it. We need to stop using so much plastic. Plastic takes up space in landfills and requires large amounts of oil to produce. It also tends to float on top of bodies of water until it breaks down into smaller pieces, at which point fish frequently mistake these pieces for food!

Take Action Against Pollution in the Ocean

It’s no secret that pollution is impacting our planet, but what many people don’t realize is that much of that waste and debris winds up in our oceans. For those of us who love swimming, snorkeling, or just being near the ocean, it’s a distressing reality. To combat these alarming trends, there are a few ways you can help keep our waters clean.

Work With Other Countries to Reduce Pollution

Just as many Western countries are working on reducing climate change, we can work together to reduce marine pollution. Learn about The Global Partnership for Oceans and find out how you can help support projects that promote healthy seas.

Cut Down on Your Use of Chemicals

Once chemicals make their way into waterways, they’re almost impossible to get rid of. A simple step you can take is limiting your use of potentially harmful products around your home or office. Avoiding harsh cleaning chemicals, for example, is easy: Simply swap out common cleaners like oven cleaner and scouring powder for natural alternatives like baking soda and vinegar instead. You can also reduce chemical consumption by replacing non-stick cookware with cast iron or stainless steel and choosing natural fabrics over synthetics whenever possible.

Support Charities Working for Marine Conservation

The vast oceans of our planet are under threat. The World Wildlife Fund states that over 68%of global marine species have suffered a decline in population over the past 100 years, a significant percentage of which is due to human impact. Supporting charities working for marine conservation is one way you can help reverse current trends and start moving in a positive direction for our oceans.

Educate Yourself and Others

The key to fighting pollution is education. People must know how their actions are affecting our oceans and what they can do in their everyday lives to help keep them clean. Start a program in your school or community that educates people about ocean conservation; it could be as simple as starting a recycling club, putting up posters around town, or holding beach cleanups with your friends and family. Teach your family members not to litter by showing them that you won’t tolerate it—and even if one person on a beach picks up trash because of you, you’ve made an impact!

Raise Money for Your Cause

Do you have a cause? If so, you could use your voice and visibility in social media—along with some creativity—to help raise money for it. Create a fundraising page at websites like GoFundMe, tap into your community through Facebook Live or Periscope, reach out directly to friends and family on social media, or set up an in-person event. You’ll probably find that people are willing to give small amounts, but do keep in mind that raising thousands of dollars can take time. By starting early and being persistent, you can make a big difference!

Volunteer Your Time With Local Nonprofits

Even though there’s a ton of talk about saving our planet, many people struggle with actually making a difference. The easiest way to make a difference for our oceans is by volunteering your time with local nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to preserving and cleaning up ocean water. Organizations like Surfrider Foundation and Ocean Conservancy can both use your help with beach cleanups, advocacy programs, community events, and more.

Keeping our oceans clean is one of humanity’s greatest challenges, but it’s also one of our biggest responsibilities. These innovative solutions are at least part of what we need to make sure that future generations can enjoy a healthy planet.

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