World Ocean Day – 10 Easy Swaps to Help Protect Our Oceans
The United Nations World Ocean Day on 8 June was created to remind us all of the critical role oceans play in our everyday lives. Often called the lungs of the planet, our oceans provide most of the oxygen we breathe. Our oceans are also home to 80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity and provide millions of job opportunities. However, the threat to our oceans is real and we need to act now to save the precious marine ecosystem. From coral bleaching and plastic pollution, rising sea levels and unsustainable fishing, our seas are changing and in danger.
Here we’ve shared some easy swaps that you can make today to help safeguard the future of our oceans.
1. Swap Sun Screen for Ocean Friendly Sun Screen
A staggering 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen end up in our oceans each year. Sunscreen pollution has been shown to kill coral, damage the immune system of sea urchins and decrease the fertility of fish. We’re not suggesting you skip the sunscreen – but why not choose a brand that’s proven to be ocean friendly? Hawaii has led the way in banning sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. Here the Independent shares its pick of the best tried and tested eco-friendly sunscreens.
2. Swap Synthetic Teabags for Paper Teabags or Loose Tea
Tea is compostable – but many teabags are made from synthetic materials that introduce microplastics not only into our bodies but also into our oceans. Try switching to a loose-leaf tea (which takes a bit longer to make but is usually superior in taste) or to sustainable teabags. JING Tea has a range of innovative glass teaware that makes switching to loose-leaf tea easy.
3. Swap Synthetic Fabrics for Natural Fabrics
Microfibre bedding and clothing can feel soft but release small synthetic fibres into our waterways each time they are washed – contributing to the pollution of our waterways and food chain. Polyester, nylon and acrylic are all made from plastic, so instead opt for cotton, linen or wool and use a microfibre-catching laundry bag, like Guppy Net, when washing your synthetics.
4. Swap Chemical Cleaning Products for Naturals
Household cleaning products – along with pesticides and industrial chemicals – all contribute to the mounting pollution of our oceans. Yet vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice and citric acid are all inexpensive and effective natural household cleaners. Here stylist Hannah Bullivant shares her recipes for making your own DIY all-natural cleaning products, or take a look at Ocean Saver for naturally powerful cleaning eco drops you can use to refill your existing cleaning-product bottles.
5. Swap Plastic Water Bottles and Takeout Cups for Reusables
A staggering million plastic bottles are still being bought across the world every minute and it’s estimated that 92 per cent of the waste polluting our seas is plastic. If you haven’t yet invested in a refillable water bottle and coffee cup, now is the time. There are so many great options to choose – including these options from The Eden Project.
6. Swap Disposable Nappies for Cloth Nappies
Disposable nappies are made from non-recyclable plastic containing microplastics and toxic chemicals. Alex Stedman from The Frugality shares her Reusable Nappy Journey here. It’s much easier than it sounds to make the switch – plus you won’t run out of nappies and will save money along the way.
7. Swap Disposable Sanitary Wear for Reusable
Single-use period products are the fifth most common waste product washed up on our shores, but there are now so many great plastic-free alternatives. The Independent shares its round up of the best here, with everything from period-proof underwear to reusable tampon applicators.
8. Swap Single-Use Bags for a Fabric Tote
We’ve reduced the number of plastic bags used here in the British Isles, but one marine mammal or seabird is still dying every 30 seconds because of plastic pollution. Even paper bags are littering our beaches, so instead why not opt for a re-usable fabric bag? Surfers Against Sewage ship their fabric bags in plastic-free packaging and once the bag is past its best you can send it back to be recycled.
9. Swap Red-Rated Fish for Sustainable Options
The Marine Conservation Society has created the Good Fish Guide, a traffic-light system that makes it easy to choose the most sustainable fish and seafood. Here’s the link. The list is updated regularly but right now Keta salmon, mackerel, kingfish and Pacific oysters are all on the green list.