Yesterday we reported on the worldwide trash pick-up that collected over 7 million pounds of trash on beaches all around the world. We love the environment and are always looking for ways to help out. Here are 10 ways we can all help the ocean, from thankyouocean.org:
Recycle used motor oil. Don’t let motor oil spill on the ground because rain will wash it into the storm-water drains, and from there out to sea, where it can harm or kill marine life. Always recycle used motor oil at your local gas station, auto parts store or wherever you get your oil changed. NEVER pour motor oil down any drain.
Put garbage and recyclables in their proper place. If not disposed of properly, plastics, Styrofoam and other garbage can enter our creeks and rivers and wash out to sea. These materials can choke marine birds and mammals, so dispose of them in the right way. Don’t release helium balloons – winds often carry balloons far away where they can deflate and end up in the ocean. Sea turtles can choke to death after mistaking deflated balloons for edible jellyfish.
Carry and use non-disposal bags. The most common litter found in the ocean is plastics. Instead of disposable plastic bags, carry and use your own reusable bag at the grocery and other convenience stores. In addition, pack your lunch — and your kids’ lunches — in reusable, airtight bisphenol A (BPA)-free plastic containers. BPA is a substance found in hard plastics thought to mimic hormones in our bodies.
Use reusable coffee cups and water bottles. Each year, people use and discard more than 25 billion disposable coffee cups and bottles for water and soft drinks. Invest a few dollars in a travel mug and a water bottle. This step eliminates the thousands of disposable cups and bottles you would use, saves trees and oil, and makes certain that no disposable cups, bottles or plastic lids will end up in the ocean as marine debris or litter.
Cut up plastic six-pack rings. If six-pack rings get into the marine environment, they can strangle marine birds, sea turtles and mammals. Cut up the plastic rings found on six-packs of soda and other beverages to eliminate this possibility. Better yet, choose to buy items that are not packaged with six-pack rings whenever possible.
Respect vulnerable marine life. Tread lightly, or not at all, on tide pools and rocky shore habitats because you can crush the marine life that lives there. Keep your distance from sea birds, seals, sea lions, otters and other ocean wildlife as you could disturb their feeding or resting. If you see a marine mammal in trouble, report it to the Marine Mammal Center. The International Bird Rescue Research Center can provide information on how to help an injured bird.
Maintain a healthy lawn and garden. Excessive use of chemically based pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers can run off your lawn into storm drains and into the ocean. Use these chemicals responsibly according to the instructions or, better yet, change to organic products. Consider options such as less-toxic insecticidal soap as a pesticide before using a toxic one. Or plant a native garden that doesn’t require lots of chemicals or water. For more information, see the California Integrated Waste Management Board’s sustainable landscaping Web site.
Conserve water and use it responsibly. The less water we use, the less runoff and wastewater will pollute our ocean. In addition, this leaves more water for coastal streams for salmon and reduces the need for converting ocean water to drinking water. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean you driveway and/or sidewalk. Take shorter showers, and turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. For more tips, go to the USEPA’s Watersense Web site.
Make smart seafood choices. Buy seafood that you know is being harvested sustainably and doesn’t contain heavy metals, such as mercury, that pose a risk to human health. Consult the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s seafood guide that identifies the best choices to make to help preserve these fish stocks for future generations.
Don’t flush kitty litter. Cats can host a deadly pathogen, called Toxoplasmosis gondii, which appears to contribute to nearly 40 percent of the mortality in California sea otters observed in the past several years. Dispose of kitty litter in trash receptacles instead of flushing it down the toilet.