From outer space, the earth is seen as a beautiful azure sphere with two-thirds of its surface covered by extensive oceans. This sphere is our home and a majority of us revel in its beauty. However, up close, hidden just beneath the mesmerising turquoise surface is an alarming truth – human interference is threatening the health of our oceans.
According to a recent news report, around 8 million tons of plastic products enter the ocean every year. Discarded plastics look like food to aquatic animals and those who mistakenly consume the plastic cannot digest it. This causes clogging in their digestive system and ultimately, death. Other times, air-breathing aquatic animals get tangled in the plastic and cannot reach the surface, leading them to drown.
Regardless, discarded plastics are not the only manner in which we are clogging our oceans. Oil spills have catastrophic effects on marine communities. In 2010, one of the largest oil spills in the history of the United States took place in the Gulf of Mexico, where 4.9 million barrels of oil poured into the ocean. The oil not only polluted the waters and coral reefs underneath it but also eliminated ecosystems on the coasts nearby.
And of course, let us not forget global warming. An increase in global temperatures is causing the melting of polar ice caps and warming of our oceans. As a result, even the slightest changes in temperature is harmful to one of our most important ecosystems – coral reefs. Coral reefs are the source of nutrition to marine communities and when a coral dies, the animals and plants it supports also die. At present, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is undergoing a bleaching event that began back in 2014 and is considered to be one of the worst bleaching events in history.
A vital interest for mankind
Oceans produce half of the oxygen we breathe. They contain more than 97% of the water on our planet, as well as provide 16% of the animal protein we eat. They also absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thereby helping to reduce major climate changes. Needless to say, oceans are essential to life on Earth.
Fortunately, creative young individuals are rising to the challenge to clean up ocean rubbish produced by mankind and to help save our planet:
Drifting V-shaped system – When 24-year-old Boyan Slat was just a teenager, he had an ambitious idea to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Now, a few years later, he is turning his idea into a reality. He is CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, an environmental organisation that has raised well over $31 million dollars to develop a drifting V-shaped system designed to collect waste collection from the oceans. By 2021, it is expected that the organisation will launch a total of 60 drifting V-shaped systems in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Moreover, it is predicted that these systems will clean up 50% of the waste in the patch in 5 years’ time.
The Seabin – When passionate surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski realised that Earth’s most valuable natural resources were being endangered, they decided to do something about it. They decided to create the Seabin, a bucket with a pump and water filtration system that is designed to suck waste and rubbish floating on the water’s surface. The water filtration system absorbs oil right out from the ocean and then releases cleaner water through the other side of the pump.
The SeaVax – A trio from Sussex, England have invented a robotic ship called the SeaVax, which can suck up to 22 million kgs of plastic on an annual basis. The SeaVax is a self-driving ship that runs on solar power and wind. It has special sensors to spot rubbish, as well as sonar to protect ocean life and birds hovering above the water’s surface. The first ship has been developed; however, funding is being sought out to create more ships.
The microplastic removing rover – When 12-year-old Anna Du realised that something needed to be done about the massive amounts of discarded plastics floating in our oceans, she decided to design her very own subaquatic rover. Using infrared technology, the rover works by looking for and identifying microplastics. It is just a matter of time before Du’s invention starts cleaning the pollution from the oceans.
Everyone can do something to make a difference – even if it is just a small act. Here are some ways in which you can help heal our oceans:
- Educate yourself;
- Cut down on plastic usage;
- Buy ocean-friendly products;
- Volunteer your time to help clean up;
- Donate to an ocean charity;
- Support organisations addressing ocean-related issues;
- Spread the word!
As a generation of socially responsible and aware individuals, take the time to ensure you properly dispose of rubbish. This not only helps keep our waterways clean but also helps reduce the impact on sea life and vegetation.
The team at Cheapest Load of Rubbish can help ease the pressure on our waterways by helping to remove your rubbish in an environmentally safe manner. Our experts take all sorts of rubbish from residential addresses, commercial businesses and even construction sites. Contact us today to see how we can help you.