Our oceans are currently facing two major problems: on the one hand, global warming which, by raising the temperature of the water, impacts the amount of oxygen generated by marine ecosystems. On the other hand, the amount of plastic in the sea that affects the life of marine animals that can die or become ill when ingested.
Did you know that more than half of the earth’s oxygen is produced by small single-celled plants on the surface of the ocean called phytoplankton?
We often talk about the oxygen produced by trees and plants and forget that phytoplankton is the largest producer of oxygen on earth. These tiny microscopic plants feed on nutrients that come from the bottom of the sea and grow through photosynthesis, which means they convert CO2 using the energy of the sun and release oxygen.
Unfortunately, phytoplankton is endangered by climate change, as this species prefers cold water and, as the oceans get warmer, its population decreases. The migration of phytoplankton to colder waters could affect marine life in the marine system since phytoplankton is the base of the food chain: it is consumed by zooplankton, which in turn, is the food for small fish and other animals; therefore many species could starve to death.
In addition, the oceans are being affected by receiving millions of tons of plastic waste annually. Perhaps we don’t realize it since we don’t see it, but there is an island of garbage in the Pacific Ocean, it is the largest concentration of marine debris in the world: estimated at 1.6 million km2, about three times the size of France, or twice the size of Texas, and still growing.
Much of this waste that reaches the oceans is colonized by microbes, algae, plants and small animals, which generates an aroma that attracts other marine animals, including turtles, whales or even birds, making them believe that all this garbage is actually food. Therefore, they eat them and consequently we All Posts as well. In a recent study from the University of Newcastle in Australia they found that on average, people ingest 5 grams of plastic every week, or 2,000 micro particles of plastic – this is equivalent to eating a credit card every week!
In conclusion, it is important to protect our oceans! This is why we leave you our Easy Eco Tips top 5 to protect our oceans and our land.
- Reduce your carbon footprint to slow down global warming and maintain water temperature: there are many ways to reduce it, no matter how small the action all adds up. Some examples are: use your bike as a means of transportation, reduce your meat intake, consume local and seasonal produce, unplug electronics while you’re not using them, etc.
- Never throw cigarette butts on the floor: if you are a smoker, use a portable ashtray. It is the size of a key ring and is very practical. Cigarette butts are the most popular item on the beaches of the world. Each year 5.6 billion cigarettes are made worldwide and most come with filters containing cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that can take a decade or more to decompose.
- Don’t flush anything but paper down the toilet. Items such as contact lenses, cotton swabs, make-up removal pads, tampons, and baby wipes are often flushed down the toilet, however, they are not biodegradable and because they are small they are not filtered by water treatment plants and usually end up in the sea.
- Prevent microfibers from ending up in the ocean: choose sustainable clothing made from natural fibers. And when washing the clothes you already have, use bags designed to capture the microfibers in the washing machine. Wash your clothes at a low temperature and reduce the spin speed in your washing machine to reduce the amount of microfibres released into the water.
- And with all the trash already on the street and likely to end up in the ocean, take a minute a day to pick up a piece of trash on your way out. You will save this piece of trash from being carried away by the wind or rain and eventually ending up in the ocean, nature or eaten by animals. Imagine if everyone picked up a single piece of trash every day for a year, what an impact we would all have!
Try it, see how good it feels! It’s very little effort for a big impact, and even more satisfaction. If you are looking for eco-friendly products don’t forget to visit our EasyEcoMarket and if you want more ideas to be more eco-friendly, visit our website www.easyecotips.com and find hundreds of tips and articles to reduce your impact easily.