How to Help Keep Our Oceans Clean: 11 Things You Can Do

How you can help keep our oceans clean

Jun 25, 2021

How to Help Keep Our Oceans Clean: 11 Things You Can Do

Finding ways on how to help keep our oceans clean is a task that shouldn’t be reserved only for environmentalists and people living near the coasts, but for everyone inhabiting our planet.

The ocean is the world’s life support system, yet humans and human activities are its biggest threat. It’s a problem that stretches from ocean to ocean and impacts the Earth as a whole. 

As daunting as all that sounds though, you don’t have to do extraordinary things to keep the ocean clean and safe for all. Small things can make a big difference. Below are some small things you can do now to help save our oceans.

1. How to Help Keep Our Oceans Clean? Start with Awareness

All solutions often start with awareness. If you’re here, you’re probably already aware of ocean pollution and the problems it’s causing. If you are, then take it to the next level and spread awareness to your friends and family. 

Living in the Internet era has its advantages. Use them. Share news about ocean issues and help spread the word. If all of us do at least one thing to help keep our oceans clean, it will make a huge difference, not just to marine life, but to all life. 

2. Be Part of the Force

You don’t have to hold a protest placard and join environmental demonstrations to make an impact—although you can if you want to. Join environmental organizations that are focused on ocean conservation. Memberships do not require holding a sign to show your support and finding one near your area is easier than you may think.

There are many benefits to joining environmental groups but the biggest is probably the fact that organizations, particularly big ones, already have a voice when it comes to social and environmental issues. 

Get yourself heard and be part of a louder voice that demands changes for a better, bluer ocean. These organizations lead and lobby for change, especially for environmental laws that protect the ocean.

Environmental laws play a huge part in protecting our environment from exploitation and negligence from businesses and individuals alike. Be part of a group that pushes for such laws. These organizations can be a great source of steady information, as well, on how to help keep our oceans clean.

3. Take Responsibility

Take responsibility for your actions. Acknowledge that everything you do impacts our planet and take that thought with you wherever you go and whatever you do.

Remember that whenever you let your food go to waste, when you leave the water running, or when you are drinking coffee from paper cups, you are creating an environmental chain reaction that will find its way to our oceans. 

Aside from keeping that at the front of your mind, you can also help reverse or reduce the effects of others’ irresponsible actions. You can pick up litter and join activities like the 10 Pieces Movement where travellers are challenged to pick up 10 pieces of trash during their adventures. 

You can also run a bottle drive. East Hills Bottle Depot makes it easy to organize bottle drives. You’ll be helping the environment and raising money at the same time. 

4. Respect the Ocean

Respect the ocean and all life forms in it. When you go to the beach, don’t leave anything behind. Bring your trash with you. 

Respect the Ocean

When you go boating, don’t throw anything overboard. Even something as harmless as aquarium fish, for example, can disrupt the native environment of the ocean and harm other species in it. In fact, the very clothing you’re wearing may be shedding fibers that are harming the ocean

In other words, whether it’s an aquarium fish or a small thread from your clothes, what you think is harmless may actually not be. 

Respect the ocean, bring everything you brought with you when you leave, and don’t throw anything— certainly not your garbage— anywhere. You know that straw wrapper that blew away in the wind when you were having lunch? Go get it. 

You don’t throw trash around at your neighbour’s or your friend’s house when you visit, why do it at the beach?

5. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Your overarching environmental goal should be to leave this planet with as little carbon footprint as you can manage. 

We want to leave a better place for our kids and their kids in the future. Also, even if that isn’t something you’re most concerned about, understand that the future of the planet is uncertain if we don’t live sustainably. 

There’s only so much our planet can handle. A study in the journal Marine Policy shows that our ocean’s pollution is reaching a planetary boundary. Planetary boundary refers to the environmental limits within which humans can safely operate.

Anything you do that results in carbon emissions increases your carbon footprint. Are you using too many disposable plastics? Plastics are made using oil or natural gas, which produce greenhouse gases that harm our oceans.

Our oceans store about 30 percent of carbon dioxide and 93 per cent of all greenhouse gases. Dissolved carbon increases the acidity of the ocean water, affecting corals and shellfishes.

Greenhouse gases also trap more heat from the sun, increasing our ocean’s temperature. Plus, the increased temperature makes the water expand, resulting in a rise in sea level. 

So you see, greenhouse gases do not only affect the climate, they also affect our oceans. Some ways you can help reduce greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are:

  • conserving water
  • using energy-efficient appliances
  • walking or biking to work
  • and many more

6. Buy Sustainable Seafood

Sustainable seafood is seafood caught in a way that protects the ocean, preventing overfishing, and overall ensures the ocean can still handle future needs. 

According to Oceana Canada’s latest report, only a quarter of Canada’s fish populations can confidently be considered healthy. The number of fish populations in a critical state increased from 13.4% in 2017 to 17% in 2020. 

People continue to overfish critically depleted stocks. See the numbers below.

Help bring the number down for critically depleted and overfished stocks by buying sustainable seafood. When you support sustainable practices in fishing, you encourage more restaurants and establishments to buy only from sustainable fisheries. 

When you’re shopping, check for labels like: 

You can also download Seafood Watch’s consumer guide to help you make the right choices either when shopping or dining. 

7. Say No to Plastics

Did you know that research estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish

Plastics end up in our oceans, in the stomachs of marine life, and back on our dining tables. 

A study by the University of Exeter and the University of Queensland found that the seafood we eat today has traces of plastics. Someone eating sardines, for example, could ingest up to 30 mg of plastic or the equivalent of a grain of rice. 

Sounds like poetic justice, right? This is not the extent of plastic problems in our oceans, though. Plastics harm ocean creatures too.

Remember this video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw up its nostrils that went viral in 2016? 

If you can’t completely eliminate the use of plastics, you can still reduce your usage. Switch to reusables and dispose of your plastics properly.

8. Pick Up Beach Litter

Pick up litter on the beach when you see them and even if they aren’t yours. Also, any time you can, join beach clean up drives. 

beach litter

There are annual clean up drives that you can join, so sign up when you can even when they aren’t on the beach. National CleanUp Day and World CleanUp Day, for example, will have their annual clean up drive on September 18, 2021.  

9. Use Ocean-Friendly Products

Those fancy nylon mesh tea bags you got for your birthday? Bad news, they have microplastics. Those tea bags that promise a much superior flavoured tea release billions of microplastics into tea, according to researchers from McGill University in Montreal in a recent study

Did you also know that the beads in beauty exfoliants and some toothpaste products have microplastics in them? 

So aside from the terrible fact that microplastics can also enter the human body, the problem with microplastics is that they don’t break down and they’re very tiny (microplastic is considered plastic less than five millimeters or 0.2 inches in diameter) they pass through our filters, through the waterways, and end up in the oceans.

Also, even if the filters in your washing machines can catch microparticles so they don’t end up in our oceans every time you wash your clothes, if you use swimsuits made of synthetic fibers—like nylon, spandex, lycra, and polyester—you’re sending these into the ocean everytime you go swimming. 

These are just some of the common products that can harm the ocean. There are also other products that are made through harmful methods like cosmetics containing shark oil, jewelry made from corals, and tortoiseshell accessories made from hawksbill turtles. 

Show your love for our oceans by avoiding products that threaten marine lives.

10. Buy Less and Buy Better Clothes

Overproduction and overconsumption are the biggest reasons why you should buy better quality clothes that last for a long time, rather than cheaper clothes that don’t last as long. 

You may not be aware but clothing production creates more carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. 

What makes this even more problematic is the ‘Fast Fashion’ trend. Fast Fashion refers to poor quality clothes that replicate catwalk trends, produced at low-cost and made faster than you can say ‘fashionable.’

On the surface, that may sound good for the budget-conscious person, but it seems that access to cheap, celebrity fashion-like, trendy clothing is a threat to our environment. Latest research shows that 3 out of 5 fast fashion clothes end up in landfills within a year of purchase.

11. Practice Recycling

Last but not least, recycling—the mother of all conservation efforts— should always be on your list if you’re looking for ways on how to help keep our oceans clean.

Recycle whenever possible. Whether it’s bottles or clothes, recycling is the best way to reduce waste and what you throw away. 

Granted, it’s not always easy and convenient to recycle, but that is why you should always look for ways to make it a part of your life and not just a one-time thing that you do on Global Recycling Day. 

Fortunately, there are companies that help people make recycling easy. East Hills Bottle Depot in Calgary is one of them. Our goal is to make recycling as easy as possible for you, from our valet service waiting to grab your beverage containers for you when you pull up, to fast moving lines and coffee while you wait. We believe that recycling shouldn’t be a chore.

Let’s Make the World a Bluer Place

Beneath the smooth ocean surface lurks threats to our oceans and all life forms in it. It’s our duty to protect the ocean by helping to keep it clean and safe for all. 

If you’re looking for information on how to help keep our oceans clean, know that you don’t need a lot to start. The first step to ocean conservation is awareness. 

If you’re still reading, you’re already halfway there. The rest is easy. Just remember, small changes make the biggest differences. 

At East Hills Bottle Depot, we make it easy to make a difference, one bottle at a time. Not only do we make recycling easy, we also make it fun and certainly a time to look forward to. Come visit us today. Here you’ll find real human connection, great coffee, and even Netflix.

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