- Reducing carbon footprint
Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases- primarily CO2, released as a result of human activities. Necessary steps can be taken at the individual level to reduce your carbon footprint such as- driving more energy efficient vehicles (operating on fuels with low carbon content), carpooling or using public transport, better insulation, more efficient boilers and appliances, using heating controls and lights more efficiently. Unplugging the appliances when they are not in use and reusing everyday items wherever possible.
According to the IUCN, the ocean is being disproportionately impacted by the increasing emission of greenhouse gases causing changes in water temperature, ocean acidification and deoxygenation, rising sea levels, changes in oceanic circulation and diversity of marine species. In 2016, one quarter of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef died due to rising temperature and acidification.
2. Be energy efficient
Generating electricity creates more pollution than any other industry by releasing carbon in the atmosphere. This carbon is then absorbed by our oceans, making them more acidic thus giving rise to unsuitable conditions for the marine life to survive.
We can help save electricity by turning of lights when not in use, installing LEDs which are 80% energy efficient compared to incandescent bulbs that are only 20% energy efficient. Replacing older appliances with newer more efficient models also helps in stabilizing electricity consumption.
3. Avoiding single-use plastics
Single-use plastics or disposable plastics are used only once before they are thrown away. Plastic water bottles, straws, plastic bags constitute a major chunk of the plastic waste that is found in the oceans and endangers the marine life.
Nearly 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year out of which, only 10-13% is recycled and the rest lands up in our landfills and oceans. The nature of petroleum- based plastic makes it non-biodegradable which can take up hundreds of years to decompose completely, thus, there is an immediate need to move towards the use of eco-friendly and sustainable products that can be recycled more efficiently.
4. Make informed choices
The over consumption of seafood poses a threat to majority of the world’s fisheries. The global consumption of seafood has doubled since the 1970s facilitating large scale exploitation of fisheries.
Overfishing is one of the biggest culprits that is depleting our oceans of various species on a daily basis threatening the marine diversity.
5. Proper waste management systems
Production of plastic is at an all time high due to its rapid consumption and much of the excess ends up in the sea. According to a report, the amount of plastic production rose by 38% between 2004 to 2014. The mismanagement of plastic waste is a “critical concern”.
“Failure to properly sort or dispose off plastic leads to waste being discarded directly into landfills or dumped into nature. The world’s inability to manage plastic waste results in one-third of plastic, 100 million metric tons of plastic waste, becoming land or marine pollution”, said the report.
The plastic that lands up in the ocean doesn’t biodegrade, but breaks into smaller pieces, which are then consumed by the marine life. These plastic microbeads further contaminate the food chain.