Most of us love to travel, and with conservation being something we are all becoming more familiar with, we will hopefully consider how to make a difference.
One of the biggest subjects on this front is the conservation of our oceans, how it affects the planet’s wellbeing and, of course, our wildlife! Many countries around the World are ‘doing their bit’ to help save our planet, but is it enough?
In travelling around the globe we could be forgiven for thinking that other countries, especially poorer areas, may seem not to be aware of the enormous issues that need to be tackled. Beaches are strewn with plastics and paper that seems never to be cleared – witnessed even in Europe. Kids are playing at the water’s edge surrounded by rubbish! On the other hand, as an affluent country, we in the UK use far too much packaging in our food chain and to make all our goods look attractive!
Phasing out Plastic Bags
Probably the largest issue to be tackled globally, with most countries getting behind it, at least to some degree, is phasing out the use of plastic bags. In our schools children are taught about the effects of plastic waste, particularly in the oceans, from a very young age. They are the next generation and it is they that will hopefully have a different perspective on saving the planet than any other children before them. It is therefore important that their mindset is altered, and in turn, this will help others.
According to National Geographic, as of July 2018, the United Nations counted 127 nations that have banned or taxed bags!
Refilling Drinks Containers
A big push is evident here for refilling our coffee/tea cups and water bottles. As we travel around it is a necessity that we keep hydrated, more so in hot climates. Refilling water bottles has become popular; it saves us money but more importantly stops the incredible high waste of plastic bottles. Rather than reusing plastic ones, we are encouraged to buy BPA free bottles that can be continually refilled.
Filling stations at airports are becoming widely available, which is a great help when we are forbidden to take liquids through security. Cafes are encouraging us to bring our own reusable cup rather than giving us disposable ones, the incentive is a price reduction! Find water on the go with an app informing the whereabouts of refill stations around the UK at refill.org.uk.
- An average of 8 million tonnes of plastic finds its way in our oceans each year
- In the UK, 7 billion bags were handed out before we started being charged back in 2015, and this has now dropped by 85%
- In 1950, 2 million tonnes of plastic was produced worldwide, compared to 381 million by 2015
- Supermarkets are responsible for over 800,000 tonnes of single-use plastic just to package our food, with no real changes on the horizon
- 80% of plastics in the oceans come from land-based sources. Globally, Asia and the Pacific are responsible for a large percentage of this due to mismanagement issues at coastal level and waste entry from rivers
- The average person in the UK will use 150 water bottles a year
- 1 million plastic bottles are purchased each minute around the globe
The Marine Conservation Society
The MCS is the UK’s leading conservation charity, working extremely hard to protect our oceans. They are involved in many aspects of conservation and along with environmental groups, are striving to make a difference. In communities living on the coast, there are schemes in place to encourage the locals to collect rubbish from the beach, a small incentive but one that makes a difference. 30% of the litter on the beach is deposited by the public!
Water lifestyle store, Aqua Living, is on a mission to help us enjoy our beaches and oceans whilst supporting marine and environmental conservation of our planet. They believe we can all enjoy this lifestyle, and sell ‘planet-friendly’ goods to make this possible.
Finally, a news item which may put all of this in perspective and really make us wake up: The Mariana Trench in the Pacific, at 7 miles below the surface, is the deepest part of the Earth’s ocean. Recently an explorer became the third diver in history to reach the bottom of the Trench, with the deepest dive yet at 10,927m. They found new species of sea life not seen before, but unfortunately and incredibly sadly, found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers! We all need to take responsibility for our oceans, every single of one us!