What to do to reduce ocean pollution

ocean waste Santa Ana, CA

What to do to reduce ocean pollution

June 15, 2024 reducingwaste Comments Off

Reducing ocean pollution includes recycling a minimum of 50% of the waste collected, the gradual elimination of single-use plastic and the reduction in global production of plastic packaging. It must be said that supervision of waste management is slow in coming and this is partly what has allowed plastic pollution to develop. Indeed, it is easier to dump waste into nature than to properly manage its end of life and inevitably, it is the environment that suffers the consequences.

In this situation, California is also a bad student since only 45% of plastic bottles are recycled there. Most are simply downcycled, or remanufactured from lower quality plastic that can no longer be recycled.

But we are now talking about a 40% increase in global production of plastic waste by 2030. It is rather time to adopt a long-term vision which will not put economic issues at the forefront but will refocus on the contrary on the essentials. Namely our environment, our biodiversity. Our survival, quite simply.

Global collaboration to protect the oceans

To reduce marine pollution, it is up to countries to put in place effective regulatory standards regarding waste disposal practices. These could be accompanied by reinforced controls and higher fines in the event of illegal dumping at sea, in order to dissuade companies and governments that might be tempted to do so.

Recently, more than 190 countries gathered at the United Nations to discuss a global treaty on the high seas in order to protect at least 30% of the oceans by 2030. It is difficult to achieve the objectives recommended by scientists without true international cohesion.

International waste management projects

Many of them are already being implemented.

The creation of Giant Plastic Barges, intended to suck up micro-particles, has already been considered, as has The Ocean Cleanup, imagined by a young Dutch entrepreneur. The 600 meter long float barrier hopes to empty half of the 7th continent of the Pacific, or 15,000 tons of plastic per year. The first tests have highlighted some flaws in the system but improvements are continuing.

The sailboat Le Manta, for its part, should see the light of day in 2024 and will collect and compact waste floating on the surface using an integrated sorting unit. What cannot be recycled will be transformed into fuel for the boat via an incinerator. The Manta will draw its energy from solar panels, wind turbines and hydro-generators.

Solutions at the individual level to combat ocean pollution

Waste of land origin represents approximately 80% of global marine pollution. Everything can start with treatment at the source, by profoundly changing our behavior.

Reduce your use of single-use plastics

This is the basis of the Zero Waste approach. Plastic has eluded us for several years now but there is still time to take back control. Reusable bags, natural and lightly packaged products, stainless steel bottles… Consuming in an eco-responsible way means avoiding overpackaging and single-use products in favor of more sustainable alternatives. You will also take the opportunity to avoid products containing microbeads.

Recycle correctly

Without being a miracle solution, recycling is a way to limit the quantity of waste that ends up in water, and to reduce the need to manufacture new plastic.

Better yet, before throwing it in the trash, you will ask yourself if it is not possible to reuse this object that you no longer want, or to share it with those around you.

Rethink your consumption of seafood

To go further and fight against overfishing, we can reduce our fish consumption or avoid endangered or farmed species such as bluefin tuna, monkfish, wild Atlantic salmon or cod. The production of a single kilo of salmon, for example, requires the use of 5 kilos of fish.

Reduce your carbon footprint

To limit water acidification and coral loss on a global scale, you can reduce your carbon footprint by taking a few simple steps. For example, prefer cycling, walking and public transport to the car. Turn off the lights when you leave a room and put on a sweater in winter rather than turning up your heating thermostat.

Stop using chemicals

To reduce the release of harmful substances into the oceans, it is also possible to limit the use of toxic products for everyday cleaning, gardening or makeup removal by using more natural cleaners, less rich in nutrients. Consumer products are full of substances harmful to health anyway.

Opt for ocean-friendly sunscreens

These will ignore the nanoparticles and chemical filters responsible for coral bleaching and disruption of photosynthesis. No silicones, sulfates or parabens here, but biodegradable formulas composed of a maximum of natural active ingredients, brought together in packaging made from recycled materials. SeventyOne Percent, EQ, Laboratoires de Biarritz, or Alphanova Sun, these are lovely brands 100% that combine hydration, softness and protection against UV rays!

Participate in (or organize) a beach or river cleanup

Numerous collections are now organized across California. Alone, with family or friends, take part in waste collections organized by local and international organizations.

And then of course, on vacation, we leave no trace of our passage and we avoid picking up what is under the surface.

Support organizations fighting plastic pollution

Oceanic Society, Plastic Pollution Coalition, 5 Gyres, Algalita or Plastic Soup Foundation. In Europe, the largest network fighting plastic pollution is Surfrider Foundation Europe, which works for pollution prevention and beach cleaning.

These organizations rely on donations to continue their work. Even small donations can make a big difference!

Spread the word

Stay informed on issues related to plastic pollution, and help raise awareness around you. Run petitions, share fun facts, join discussions on social networks… And show your loved ones how they can contribute.

Until then, since 64% of the oceans are defined as international waters and do not belong to any particular country, their preservation takes the form of a true collective responsibility. In their sights, it is potentially the energies of tomorrow that are at stake. Many projects are interested in the question. Today, only 0.2% of the world’s energy is drawn from the sea, while the movement of just 0.1% of waves could meet the energy needs of the entire planet. Algae could also make it possible to make biodegradable plastics.