HAPPY WORLD OCEANS DAY
Each June 8th, World Oceans Day is an awareness day meant to celebrate the ocean, its importance, and what we can do to protect it. In many ways the ocean is the planet's life support system, but things like climate change and mankind's obsession with plastic have had an enormous impact and disastrous consequences on our marine biodiversity. Scientists estimate that if things don't change, in 2050 the ocean will have more plastic by weight than fish. Fortunately, there are lots of smart people out there working towards improving the future of our oceans. The conservation focus for World Oceans Day 2019 is to "demonstrate leadership in preventing plastic pollution and share solutions that inspire and activate the global community". Continue reading to learn more about World Oceans Day 2019 and what your business can do to participate.
Why Celebrate World Oceans Day?
No matter where you live in the world, the ocean directly affects each of our lives. Oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface, they generate over 60% of the oxygen we breath, they hold 97% of the Earth's water, and they provide at least a sixth of the animal proteins that we eat. Humans, and millions of other species, depend on the resources the ocean provides us with such as: oxygen, climate regulation, water supply, food sources, and so much more. World Oceans Day's purpose is to honor, help protect, and conserve the beautiful ocean and all that it gives us - and global participation is needed now more than ever.
Why Focus On Ocean Plastic?
Plastic pollution is a global problem that continues to worsen due to the increase in consumer-use of plastics. The plastic problem escalated alongside the rise in popularity of single-use packaging, which are designed to be thrown away after one use. In the past 65 years, global production of plastics has surpassed any other manufactured material, but roughly 9% of plastic ever created has been recycled. To worsen matters, plastics do not biodegrade, but break down into small pieces known as micro-plastics. This means roughly two-thirds of all plastic ever produced has been released into the environment and remains there in some form. Currently, an estimated 5.25 trillion plastic particles are floating around in the world's oceans. These plastics are directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of marine-deaths each year due to entanglement and ingestion. Sadly, marine life mistakes the micro-plastics for food, which results in tiny pieces of plastic ending up in the fish and shellfish humans eat.
PLASTIC POLLUTION In our oceans
You might be wondering how so much plastic ends up in our oceans. The Ocean Conservancy estimates that 80% of the plastics in the oceans come from land-based sources, and the other 20% from ocean-based sources (like fishing nets). The plastic pollution that originates from land-based sources comes from uncollected waste and inefficient waste-management systems. For example, plastic that is improperly transported or sorted can blow away and travel into streams and storm drains that flow into the ocean. Or rain and wind can carry litter into drains or rivers that lead directly to the sea. Once these plastics wind up in the ocean, they break down over time into small pieces which puts marine life at risk of ingesting or becoming entangled in the debris. Here's an image to help you visualize how plastic enters the ocean:
How To Take action against plastic pollution
Many individuals, businesses, and organizations are taking action by reducing their plastic usage and spreading awareness about the impacts of plastic pollution. The Ocean Project encourages all that are able to get involved in the following ways:
Plan and register an event: Volunteering is a great way to bond with your team while making a difference. Check out some of the countless volunteer opportunities taking place near you or register your own event in your area!
Change perspective: Encourage your team (or even strangers) to think about what the ocean means to them and everything it has to offer.
Learn: about the many ocean creatures and habitats, and how our actions affect them.
Change our ways: Making small changes in your everyday life will help take care of our oceans!
Celebrate: Take some time to think about how the ocean affects you, and how you affect the ocean, and then participate in activities that celebrate our ocean!
Help Protect The Ocean Everyday
In addition to getting involved on World Oceans Day, there are many small changes your workplace can make every day that creates a large impact:
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!: Help keep plastic out of the ocean by recycling it! Recycling your plastic will create new plastics which means less of it will make it into the ocean. If your business needs help getting started or improving your plastic recycling operations, check out our plastic recycling services for businesses here.
Reduce single-use plastics: The best way to keep plastics out of our oceans is to stop using them all together. When you take a look at your business' plastic consumption, it’s easy to find sustainable alternatives to replace single-use products! A great starting point is distributing reusable water bottles and coffee mugs to your employees. Many businesses completely divert plastic water bottles and disposable coffee cups from their waste stream this way.
Avoid using microbeads: The tiny plastic beads in our hand soaps, toothpastes, body wash and other personal care products have significantly impacted the pollution problem. They are too small to be recycled, but they still wash down drains and travel into the ocean where fish and marine-life mistake them for food.
Happy World Oceans Day from RoadRunner Recycling! We hope you will join us in celebrating and participating in this important awareness day. Share your organization's ideas for reducing plastic pollution and improving the health of our oceans below. Thanks for reading!