Today, June the 8th is World Oceans Day, the UN-designated day to celebrate and take action to look after our oceans. This morning we are in Seddon, Marlborough, talking with local schools and cleaning-up the coast with staff from Yealands Winery. The rest of our team is in Wellington, delivering our educational message to students from Clifton Terrace School and to staff from Telecom.
One of the greatest issues our oceans and coastlines face is all around us. Chances are it’s so commonplace you don’t even notice it. Look around you right now: how much plastic do you see? How much of it will be used just once, then thrown away?
So, what can you do?
The ocean is downstream from all of us. No matter where we live, so we can all help address the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean. Each year a huge amount of plastic makes it into coastal waters where it harms marine life. Seabirds, turtles, dolphins, and whales die from plastic entanglement or starvation because they fill up their stomachs on plastic they mistake for food. Scarier still, toxins from rubbish are making it into our food chain, with disastrous effects on human health.
Here are three simple things you can do to look after our coasts and oceans. World Oceans Day is a great day to start.
1. Lay off the single-use plastics
Over 70% of the rubbish we find on New Zealand’s beaches is made of plastic and has been used only once. Help stop plastic pollution at its source. As consumers, we each have the power to reduce demand. Encourage family and friends to do the same. Here are a few disposable plastic products that are easy to reduce in our daily lives:
- Plastic water bottles. On average, each New Zealander buys and throws away 168 plastic water bottles each year! Invest in a reusable water bottle, filter water if necessary, and avoid buying bottled water. Help look after our coastlines and save money; it’s a win-win. Turn the tide against wasteful plastic consumption and bring your own bottle, starting today.
- Plastic bags. Around the world, people consume nearly 1 trillion plastic bags each year. When improperly discarded, bags make it into marine environments and wreck havoc on sea life that encounter them. Remember to bring a reusable bag for food and other shopping.
- Takeaway plastics. We find straws, takeaway cups, food containers, and utensils on beaches all over Aotearoa. Bring your own reusable products like mugs or KeepCups when you get coffee and take a pass on the plastic utensils when you get takeaway food.
- Plastic packaging. Pay attention to how much plastic wraps the things you buy — your food, electronics, office equipment, the list goes on. Aim to cut down on your daily plastic consumption and reward companies that package responsibly buy choosing their products.
2. Organise your own clean-up
Head out to your nearest and dearest stretch of coast with some friends and pick up all the rubbish you find. You’ll be surprised at how much of it is plastic. For free DIY resources and to promote your event, check out our event planning site Love your Coast.
3. Support the cause
Sustainable Coastlines is a small charity. We’re constantly looking for funds to ensure we can continue our work looking after the coastlines we all love. Every little bit helps. Click here if you can spare a donation, or here to check out our fine-looking merchandise. Without the support of people like you, we simply cannot do what we do.
If your business wants to get behind our cause, we can offer fantastic exposure for your brand in return for your support. Contact us now if you are interested in this unique opportunity.