Oceans, seas, rivers. For centuries we have regarded them as an inexhaustible supply of food, a useful transport route, and a convenient dumping ground - simply too vast to be affected by anything we do.
But our activity, particularly over the last few decades, has finally pushed oceans to their limit.
Overfished, polluted, taken for granted, carelessly abused and destroyed, and much more fragile and complex than we once thought ... the largest living space on Earth is fast deteriorating.
Over 80% of the marine pollution comes from land based activities. From plastic bags to pesticides - most of the waste we produce on land eventually reaches the oceans, either through deliberate dumping or from run-off through drains and rivers. This includes:
- Oil: spills cause huge damage to the marine environment, they are responsible for around 12% of the oil entering the seas each year. According to a study by the US National Research Council, 36% comes down drains and rivers as waste and runoff from cities and industry.
- Fertilisers: runoff from farms and lawns is a huge problem for coastal areas. The extra nutrients cause eutrophication - flourishing of algal blooms that deplete the water's dissolved oxygen and suffocate other marine life.
- Garbage: plastic bags, balloons, glass bottles, shoes, packaging material – if not disposed of correctly, almost everything we throw away can reach the sea. As we all know, it is consumed by the marine life.
- Sewage: flows untreated, or under-treated, into the ocean.
- Overfishing: our consumption of marine life is leading to depleting numbers of species, and affecting the intrinsic eco-system.
Here are some actions you can take to protect our waterways:
- Reduce your plastic consumption; bags, drinking cups, cutlery, water bottles, non-degradable, etc.
- Reduce consumption of seafood. Please make sure it's from sustainable sources if you cannot eliminate them completely from your diet.
- Reduce your use of fertilisers, in your own gardens and by buying organic foods where you can.
- Dispose of toxic material responsibly.
- Do not purchase delicate sea life such as corals, etc. on holiday.
- Lower your carbon footprint.