Nobody likes a trashy ocean, learn ways to keep junk out of our waterways.
The US works with international partners and organizations to address marine litter by improving the way solid waste management is handled on land. If we can provide a way to reduce litter from entering our waterways, it will keep trash out of our oceans.
There are 4 major types of marine debris that negatively affects all oceans and waterways, not just here in the US but globally as well...plastic/microplastic, fishing gear, dirty water and abandoned or derelict vessels.
- Plastic/Microplastic…did you know it takes 450 years for plastic water bottles to biodegrade? They are the most common of the plastics found floating, not just our oceans, but in rivers and lakes, too. Yes, it is hard to avoid these at work, parties or events, but do try to not use them in your home. Curb your need to stock up on cases of individual plastic water bottles and try purchasing jugs, especially ones that can be refilled, and use cups or glasses to drink from. When away from your home, try to bring a re-usable water bottle with you…and if you are a scuba diver, check out the ones we have for sale at Force-E! For other ideas on how to reduce your plastic foot-print, check out this blog by Force-E.
- Fishing Gear…A common marine debris found in our oceans is fishing gear, most likely items that have been discarded or lost. There are various forms from big, like nets or traps, too small, like line, lures & hooks. These items can damage seafloors like seagrass beds and coral reefs, and even our artificial reefs/wrecks. It is critical that we report any fishing gear we cannot remove to government agencies so that they can come in and remove these items, you can report to SEAFAN.org. As divers, we can go out on every dive and clean up the fishing line, hooks and lures from our dive sites and properly dispose of them. In the state of Florida, there are over 1600 bins located around piers, boat ramps, marinas and tackle shops...so please make sure to use them, click here to find a bin.
- Dirty Water…Did you know that over plastic waste in the ocean, the major contributor to ocean pollution is called non-point source pollution. AKA runoff from the land! About 80% of ocean pollution is from dirty water carrying fertilizer and pesticides. So when you are deciding what to put in your yard, consider using local plant-life and using mulch as filler which will reduce the use of fertilizers in the ground, learn more here. Need to get rid of weeds? Create a mix of vinegar with a couple drops of dish soap and some salt to spray onto the weed or pour boiling water on the plant. And if you need to use a pesticide try neem oil or peppermint oil, these oils disrupts and repels insects.
- Abandoned or derelict Vessels…These vessels are no longer taken care of and can pose a threat to the marine environment. They can be hazardous if they leak fuel or other hazardous materials into the water. They can also have trash, lines or anchors that can end up on our reefs or wrecks. So how to prevent this, make sure to bring the vessel to a salvage shop or use the Florida Vessel Turn-In Program by FWC. If you encounter a vessel, report it to the US Coast Guard in your region.
These are just a few things to be aware of that we can do to help our ocean we like to dive in. Hopefully, we can choose to do these things and ask others to participate, so it will help out our oceans in the long run. We can make a difference!