Our intention today is to raise awareness about one common issue related to abuse of the marine environment -- a problem that everyday people actually can do something about. That issue is marine debris.
According to the Ocean Conservancy:
From urban trash to abandoned fishing gear, marine debris is one of the world's most pervasive marine pollution problems. Every year it injures and kills thousands of marine animals that swallow it or become entangled in it and causes harm to important aquatic habitats, like coral reefs and seagrass beds.Here are a few things you can do to help keep debris off our beaches and out of our oceans:
- Dispose of trash properly at the beach, or while boating. Things you discard on the beach get washed out to sea. Things you toss overboard when you are boating stay in the ocean. The ocean is not a trash bin. Just because you can't see things after you toss them into the ocean doesn't mean they are no longer there.
- Pick up trash and debris that you see -- even if it is not your own. Clean up the area around you when you leave the beach. Take all trash and debris with you and dispose of it properly.
- Clean up reef debris when you dive. Take along a mesh bag in your pocket. If you see any cans, bottles, plastic items, or discarded fishing tackle underwater, pick them up, put them into your mesh bag, and discard them properly when you come back to shore.
- Raise awareness and promote community involvement. Organize and participate in beach clean-up and reef clean-up activities. These are good ways to raise public awareness about the issue of marine debris and to engage people in your community to tackle this problem.
For more information, visit the Ocean Conservancy's web page about marine debris, and the NOAA Marine Debris Program page.