7 easy ways we can all help to clean up our oceans
Ocean conservation isn’t just the latest buzz-word, or fad. It’s a critical issue that affects everyone on the planet and has a massive impact on your daily life – even if you live nowhere near the coast. It’s also something the yachting industry needs to take seriously, if we are to ensure a sustainable future.
At Sealogical, we take conservation seriously; supporting the Blue Marine Foundation and promoting responsible use of resources wherever possible. We believe that with just a few small changes, everyone can (and should) do their bit towards protecting and preserving our oceans for future generations. Here are seven easy ways you can make a difference:
1. Reuse wherever possible.
This means investing in a good quality water bottle, or travel mug. We say invest because if you buy one that doesn’t do the job properly, or breaks easily, it’s no better than a disposable one. You can find a huge selection of reusable bottles online; expect to pay between £10 – £20 for a high quality one.
2. Get a (non-plastic) Bag for Life.
The supermarkets sell their bags for life on the basis that when it breaks, you can give it back to them for recycling and get a new one for free. Why not just buy bags that are far less likely to break in the first place though? Get a bag that the corner of your cereal box won’t puncture. If you own a business, or charter your yacht, you could even have good quality bags, (like these from Cotton Shoppers) printed with your logo, colours, yacht name, etc. for passengers to take ashore.
3. Say no to plastic knives and forks
Seriously, they’re awful to eat from, so we’re not just being altruistic here. You can get stainless steel sets, or bamboo cutlery, like these!
4. Reject plastic packaging
There are a number of ways in which you can reject plastic packaging when you’re shopping for food. You can simply not use a plastic bag when buying fruits and vegetables – easier with something like a bunch of bananas, a melon or squash – or you could take your own. This set of nine washable, mesh bags for fruit and veg are available on Amazon for £9.99.
Many people are now removing plastic packaging in-store and leaving it for the supermarkets to dispose of – the theory is that if enough people do it, the retailers will begin to take notice.
5. Check for micro-plastics in your hygiene products
There has been a big growth in awareness of micro-plastics, so now, many manufacturers have removed them from use. Always check though. Microbeads are still used in some products, if polyethylene is on the list of ingredients, don’t buy it!
6. Use yacht and boat cleaning products that are environmentally-friendly
Many of the cleaning products used to get your yacht looking at its best contain incredibly harmful chemicals. Chlorine, ammonia and various solvents are common ingredients and all have the potential to be toxic to aquatic life. Many products can cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen available in the water, impacting on the biological oxygen demand and the ability of microorganisms to metabolise organic matter. This has a knock-on effect on the food chain and affects larger ocean creatures.
Avoiding run-off into the water can be very difficult, if not impossible, so finding alternative, green products is the only answer. This Green Directory of environmentally-friendly, green cleaning products for boats is supported by the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine Federation.
7. Use renewable energy
Where better to use renewable energy sources than on a yacht? If you own a sailing yacht, then you’re already using wind power, but there’s still more you can do. If you have a motor yacht, then think about how you can reduce its impact on the environment with a few key changes.
Solar panels are readily available, but there’s a lot of factors to consider. The best option for your yacht will depend on the space you have available, the surface on which they are to be mounted and the energy demand you’ll place them under. The good news is that there’s a solution for almost every need.
Wind generators are an excellent option for boats, where else can you get a 24-hour-a-day resource? The downside is that they can be noisy and higher maintenance than solar panels.
Yes, these suggestions mean you’ll need to be more organised; some require a financial investment and others take a bit more of your time. The key thing is, we must all make changes. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that if we continue to send millions of tonnes of plastic into the oceans each year, there’ll be more plastic, by weight, than there is fish by 2050.
Clearly, it’s a bigger job than just ditching plastic straws and buying reusable cups. We need governments to commit more resources to protecting our oceans and actively working to reverse the damage that has already been done.
If you would like to find out more about how you can help, you can find out more and donate directly to The Ocean Clean Up here, or find a local clean up date and location with Ocean Conservancy’s interactive global map. You can find out about – and support – the work of the Marine Conservation Society and of course, you can learn more about the Blue Marine Foundation and support their work.