Published on June 8th, 2018 | by Sarah Jubb
Protecting The Oceans On World Oceans Day
As an island nation, the United Kingdom is home to thousands of miles of coastline which means that the ocean is never far away. A rich history of sea faring also means that the UK and the sea have a link that is likely to never be broken, which is why it is important to ensure that we help to protect and preserve these seas.
June 8 is World Oceans Day, a day to both celebrate and promote ways to help keep the ocean healthy. This year, the focus is to try and prevent plastic pollution along with promoting solutions that will both keep the ocean clean and reduce the risk to marine life.
While most people in the UK may immediately think of our own coastline, from the astonishingly blue oceans of England’s south coast that could rival the Mediterranean to the jaw dropping mountainous coasts of the Scottish Highlands. But the UK is responsible for a large portion of ocean in the world.
With 6.8 million square kilometres, which is over double the size of India, we are responsible for the fifth largest area of ocean thanks to our 14 Overseas Territories. Not only this, but these waters contain 94% of the biodiversity found in the UK. In these waters are also the clearest water ever recorded along with the largest coral atoll.
Working To Keep Our Oceans Clean
With Overseas Territories such as the Pitcairn Islands and Ascension Island being home to important ecosystems, it’s important that the UK works hard to defend these areas. The problem of plastic is becoming more prominent today, with more companies turning away from plastic straws and even the government intending to restrict the use of plastic straws.
The reasoning for this is that plastic is becoming an epidemic in our seas, with many rubbish ending up floating in the water and becoming a danger to sea life. A three-year study that was published in March 2018 reported that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be double the size of Texas at 1.6 million square kilometres.
This patch is made up of floating debris that has caught up with each other, with discarded fishing nets making up a large portion. It was estimated that only 8% of the mass was made up of small pieces of plastic, or microplastic, with larger objects being more common.
With the increase in the amount of plastic being found in the ocean, it has in turn affected marine life. The infamous video of a sea turtle having a plastic straw removed from its nose is just one of the many reasons that people are becoming aware of the rising problems with plastic. Only last week, a whale in Thailand was found to have swallowed over 80 plastic bags, resulting in its eventual death.
How Can We Help?
While it can be hard for people to completely reduce their reliance on plastic, it can be simple for workplaces to try and make it easier. Opting to not offer plastic straws and instead consider reusable or paper straws in combination with recyclable cups or reusable cups could help to prevent too many onetime items from being used.
Specifically choosing items that have been recycled can also help to be eco-friendlier, and we have a whole range of Green Office products here on the Post Office Shop which can help to improve green credentials.
What ways can you think of to help reduce our reliance on plastic in the workplace or even at home?