Our oceans are a place of great beauty, incredible wonders, and even a source of some of our deepest fears or thrills. Our oceans are important to us for many reasons, with food, transportation, recreation, medical sources, and energy being just some of the benefits we gain from them.
Yet, oceans are suffering from our activities too; our land practices cause agricultural run-off, sewage, and litter to end up in the oceans daily, and there is now so much trash in the ocean that we've created garbage vortexes where all the trash heads to. Learn some quick and easy ways to help prevent damage to our oceans.
1. Start by learning what you can about the oceans. This will instill awe, respect, and most likely a passion in you for all things sea, and the more you know, the more you will understand the importance of doing our bit to care for the oceans. Some of the things to read up on include the problems of overfishing, the impacts of climate change on the ocean, the impact of agricultural/industrial/sewage waste in the oceans, and the ways in which ocean systems work. Learn about the species in the ocean, and the geological features and hazards, and finally, but importantly, learn about how much human beings rely on the oceans for everything from livelihood and nutrition, to relaxation and hobbies.
2. Know what not to put down your drains. Pollution from drains can often end up in the seas and it's here that you can do a great deal as a householder, by following these simple steps:
- Do not dispose of paint, solvents, cleaners, pesticides, or other chemicals down the drain. Know what is hazardous waste and find out about local collection and recycling programs in your area.
- Dispose of used motor oil properly. Find out if your city or town has a recycling program, or ask if local auto shops can help.
- Never dump chemicals onto soil or roads, or down storm drains.
- Use pesticides and herbicides sparingly or not at all. Even if you don't live near the sea, much of the run-off from your garden ends up down the drain, which wends its way down to the sea eventually. Tolerate a few bugs (many can actually help your garden) or use natural pest control methods. Crowd out weeds, smother them, or pull them by hand.
- Use ocean-friendly products. Paints, soaps, nail polish, and other chemicals can harm the ocean life.
- Dispose safely of mercury items such as old batteries and thermometers. Hand them in to your local mercury disposal center to make sure they are disposed of properly and efficiently.
3. Dispose of your trash with care. The manner in which you get rid of your household and business trash matters a great deal. Some items can create enormous harm if they reach the oceans, such as the plastic ring six-pack holders used for cans/bottles, and plastic bags. Sea animals and birds get caught in these items, or ingest them as "food", and suffer slow, agonizing deaths.
4. Keep your plumbing in good shape and use water sparingly. Not only does this ensure that your house retains its worth and guards you and your family's health, maintaining your plumbing and having regular checks on it is important for ensuring that nothing untoward is leaking seaward. Moreover, don't waste water; water tends to find its way back to the sea eventually and the more fresh water you use, the more you are depleting a precious resource. And the more we add to water by way of cleaning products, personal hygiene products, medicines, and other added chemicals and items, the more we increase the potential for polluting the sea.
- If your house is served by a septic system, make sure it is inspected and pumped out every three years.
- Never allow raw toilet waste to enter the ocean from your property. Not only is this unhygienic for human users of the ocean (and therefore usually regulated) but it harms the sea life as well.
- Install water-saving toilets. These save you money and save on how much water is used and needs to be treated.
- Install shower heads that restrict the flow of water. Faucet flow can be likewise restricted.
- Take shorter showers, use timers in the garden for watering, turn off the water when brushing your teeth, and ensure that your washing machine and dishwasher are fill before doing a washing load.
- If you can install a gray-water system for your home, this can be of enormous benefit as you will be able to reuse a lot of your household water for watering the garden and other suitable external uses.
- Cover your pool to prevent loss by evaporation. A covered pool can cut the loss of water by up to 90 percent.
- Support budget measures as needed to upgrade municipal wastewater treatment systems to improve pollution control.
5. Keep your boat green. When cleaning and sprucing up your boat, think about the ocean. Most of what you're doing on a boat will end up in the ocean, so it's important to be thoughtful about the impact of your activities. Prefer cleaning solutions, paint, varnish, etc., that have been approved as ocean-friendly. If you're not sure, contact your local boating association or a local marine environment association for more details relevant to your area
6. Join a beach or underwater clean-up group. If you want to get hands on and do something really useful, clean-up is a great way to get involved. Beach clean-ups are usually organized locally by community groups or municipalities, and in some places they're even country-wide on specific dates. These are great for family outings because children will be able to help collect trash from the shoreline and will have a real sense of achievement once it's done. For underwater clean-ups, you'll need to know how to dive but this is just as satisfying, knowing that you're removing the plastic bags, plastic items, twine, containers, etc., that inevitably find their way to the ocean.
- Don't litter. This simple decision can make a huge difference; every piece of litter near the seaside has the potential to end up in the ocean, whether it makes its way there by wind, tides, or by animal carriers. Put all of your trash in designated trash bins or take it home for proper disposal.
- Volunteer at a local wildlife preserve located near a body of water to help out on a cleanup effort. Your work will be appreciated.
- Consider donating your time or money to a non-profit organization whose mission includes ocean conservation.
7. Carpool. This can help you take the fast lane to work or school, as well as helping you to conserve gasoline. You might consider buying a hybrid car, which uses regenerative braking and saves gasoline and money. Also, you could use mass transit, such as trains or buses. Doing this allows you to do things such as reading the newspaper or actually enjoy your coffee, which you couldn't do peacefully while driving. Diesel, gas, and smokestack emissions can lead to haze, toxic emissions, or acid rain, which can lead to harmful effects in the oceans.
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