We’re putting hundreds of millions of tons of plastic and other garbage into the sea, killing marine life. Over 80% of 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, fertilizers, solid garbage, sewage toxic, and chemicals.
For example, over 2 million plastic beverage bottles are used every 5 minutes in the United States. But as little as 10% are recycled. The rest end up as trash on land or in the ocean. As a direct result of this, there is a floating patch of garbage, known as the Great Garbage Patch, twice as big as the state of Texas floating in the North Pacific. Check out this short video to learn more about plastic water bottles and ocean pollution.
There are simple things you can do to keep trash out of the ocean. Use reusable grocery bags instead of plastic grocery bags. Stop using disposable plastic water bottles and replace them with reusable water bottles filled with tap water.
Oil spills cause huge damage to the marine environment – but in fact are responsible for only 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.
Fertilizer 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. Eutrophication has created enormous dead zones in several parts of the world, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Baltic Sea.
Educating yourself about ocean pollution and doing your part to keep trash and pollutants out of the ocean is one of the easiest things you can do as a windsurfer to help protect our oceans. To learn more about saving the ocean, visit SaveTheOcean.Wordpress.com.