Now that Ocean Pollution has been established as a world-wide problem, what can we do about it? The solutions range from a global scale, to something simple that you could do in your home every day. It’s important to remember that solutions to these large problems don’t always start in the public eye. In fact, solutions begin with one person, changing the way they live, maybe only slightly. What matters is not doing one spontaneous large amount of good, but rather sustaining a life that not only benefits you, but the people and environment around you.
So what exactly are these solutions? Well there is a lot of them. You can do anything from using reusable bags to traveling around the world picking up trash. It doesn’t much matter how you help, but how much you help. The smallest and arguably easiest ways to make a difference is to change the way you consume. What I mean by this is that we as consumers have the right to choose which products we buy and which we don’t. This is an extremely powerful way to make change, and many don’t realize it.
Most companies produce products with plastic because consumers prefer products with plastic, it makes it easier to store many things. However, if we begin to choose the products that use less plastic, or have no plastic at all, there is no reason for companies to produce this harsh material. Choosing to buy products from companies that use a material like cardboard over plastic can make a larger change than you think.
Changing the ways you store and purchase food can also have an effect on how much trash ends up in the ocean. By using reusable containers instead of ones you throw away, you can produce less trash. Not only will it help the oceans, but you will save money, because you won’t have to keep buying non-reusable containers. Also, at a grocery store, using bags that can be re-used like the ones made out of cloth or paper can also be very helpful. Even if you have to use plastic bags, you can still re-use those bags too, as long as you are careful enough not to damage them.
By choosing products with certain materials in them, we can limit the amount of plastic and other harmful materials that companies have to produce. Finally, another obvious but simple solution is to not litter. While it may not seem like it, throwing a piece of trash out a window on a highway or in a park can have a profound effect on the environment. When you throw a piece of trash on the ground, you are likely not thinking that it will have a large effect. After all, it’s only one piece of trash right? Well when thousands upon thousands of people think the same way that you do, it can get quite out of hand. If each person realizes that even throwing one piece of trash on the ground has a large effect, it would make littering much less of a problem.
Of course, there is also physical work to be done. Organizations that clean up the ocean, like the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA), need more help. If you know of a beach cleanup in your area, I highly suggest you participate. Not only are they a good way to get outside and appreciate the environment, but lots of trash can be cleaned up, which helps more than you think. Additionally, you can donate your money to various organizations. They can always use more funding, and they’ll need it if we hope to fix these problems. A few of the organizations I know of are ORCA (http://www.teamorca.org/orca/index.cfm), The Blue Frontier Campaign (https://bluefront.org/), and the Safina Center (http://safinacenter.org/). Additionally, being careful to recycle plastics instead of throwing them away can improve the condition of our oceans. And generally, if you see trash thrown on the ground, pick it up. Most of that trash either pollutes soil, or ends up in the ocean. It doesn’t take much effort to pick up trash, but it can make a difference.
So, the solutions to Ocean Pollution are not as difficult as many people think. However, it will take the effort of nearly everybody to fully stop it. If we all put in the small effort, it could help to clean our oceans,
and solve one of the largest problems we as humans face today.
All credit for information used in this post goes to https://www.nrdc.org/stories/10-ways-reduce-plastic-pollution, http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/oceans/preventing-pollution/, and http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/take-action/10-things-you-can-do-to-save-the-ocean/. If you would like to see more of these posts, make sure to follow my blog. Thanks for reading.