#MyOceanChallenge – A “Rubbish” Challenge for a Clean Ocean

Until World Oceans Day, June 8,  My Ocean Challenge is to do a litter pick everyday and take photos of the rubbish found to raise funds and awareness about the growing marine litter problem!

My Ocean Challenge Day 1 - Avon River, BristolMy “Rubbish” Ocean Challenge started a few days ago with a special evening at my daughter’s Scouts group where I was invited to discuss the challenges our ocean is facing. We talked about endangered marine species, over-fishing, unsustainable fishing practices including shark finning, and the devastating impacts of marine debris.

All 26 Scouts and their leaders joined me in a litter pick. In less than 15 minutes, we collected three buckets full of litter: aluminium cans, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, glass bottles, food wrappers, plastic toys, six-pack rings, broken glass, … and more – a true ‪wake up call for the kids who couldn’t believe that an estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in our ocean each year!

Scouts St Bernadette Rubbish Challenge

When Project AWARE launched #MyOceanChallenge on Endangered Species Day, May 15, I decided to join the challenge to help support a clean and healthy ocean.

It has been estimated that around 80% of marine debris is from land-based sources. Single use items we throw away every day like plastic bottles and bags end up on the ocean floor, choking our environment.

Unfortunately, you really don’t have to look far to find it! Our trash is everywhere …..  This is what we found on our way to our local park today… Only a ten minute walk from home!

My Ocean Challenge Day 2 - Litter Pick

Thanks for supporting a clean, healthy ocean and for sponsoring My “Rubbish” Ocean Challenge!

Check out my Fundraising Page for regular updates on how I’m getting on with the challenge!

Out of Sight, Out of Mind? A Visualization of Ocean Trash

Dive Against Debris Map

Project AWARE’s new interactive map is the first to visualize nearly three years of ongoing reporting by an international network of scuba divers who remove marine debris they find underwater through the Dive Against Debris programme, a year round global citizen science initiative.

Marine litter does not belong underwater however it is estimated that more than six million tons of it enters the ocean each year entangling and injuring marine life and damaging critical habitats. Everyday items like plastic bottles and plastic bags as well as other plastics like fishing line and nets are some of the sources of plastic waste reported by divers.

The Dive Against Debris Map shows that plastics are the number one type of litter found by Project AWARE divers, making up 70% of the total amount of debris reported since 2011. The aim of the map is to raise awareness of the problems of underwater debris and also to provide a platform which enables divers to easily report and identify areas where waste prevention efforts are needed most. As more volunteer divers get involved with Dive Against Debris, Project AWARE can add the underwater view to a problem that remains out of sight for most of the public.

Explore the map to discover the types and amounts of debris scuba divers around the world have removed and reported from underwater environments and join the movement for a trash free ocean. Take action and Dive Against Debris! Think globally and act locally to work towards solutions to stop the ocean’s silent killer – marine debris.

#GivingTuesday: The Ocean Gives Us ….

Divers in San Miguel de Cozumel, Mexico imageNo matter where we live, the ocean touches our lives every day. It gives us food, water, commerce, and recreation. It even provides some of the medicines that heal us and the air we breathe. It gives us oxygen, rain, food, excitement, joy, wonder, mystery and so much more. The most powerful component in ocean conservation is us! From everyday lifestyle changes such as ditching the plastic water bottles for reusable ones to taking part in Dive Against Debris surveys, our actions and our voice have the most powerful impact on the health of our oceans. Today as the world celebrates #GivingTuesday, an international day of giving, let’s give back to the ocean!

Just how badly are we overfishing the oceans?

Humans now have the technology to find and catch every last fish on the planet. Trawl nets, drift nets, longlines, GPS, sonar… As a result, fishing operations have expanded to virtually all corners of the ocean over the past century.  That, in turn, has put a strain on fish populations. The world’s marine fisheries peaked in the 1990s, when the global catch was higher than it is today.* And the populations of key commercial species like bluefin tuna and cod have dwindled, in some cases falling more than 90 percent. So just how badly are we overfishing the oceans?

See on www.washingtonpost.com

The ocean is not broken, but consumer behaviour is

In an emotional article making waves on social media at the moment, yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen reports seeing no marine life at sea, only floating rubbish, while sailing across the Pacific. He concludes that “the ocean is broken”.

I understand Ivan’s feelings, as I too have sailed tens of thousands of miles onboard research vessels and on my sailboat, enjoying the slow and silent pace of life propelled by wind and waves.

The two issues Macfadyen raises – overfishing and plastic pollution – are real problems. More than three-quarters of the oceans’ fish stocks have been depleted, sometimes beyond recovery. The global tuna industry, particularly, is better portrayed as the War On Tuna than a fishery. And the world’s oceans are filled with large amounts of plastic debris, which are eaten or caught up in marine life or seabirds, or which break down into microscopic particles that are ingested and affect wildlife in ways we don’t yet know.

English: The Pacific Ocean

So yes, there are plenty of problems in the ocean. But it is not yet broken. I am increasingly upset about reports that say it is; we scientists are to some extent to blame, as we love being the bearer of bad news, composing an overly apocalyptic narrative.

Depicting the ocean as broken and suffering from a litany of plagues including climate change, hypoxia, eutrophication, ocean acidification, marine pests, spreading jellyfish blooms, and loss of valuable habitat, suggests a problem beyond repair. This eventually deters society from engaging. These plagues are certainly real, but their severity is sometimes exaggerated through a feedback loop involving, among others, the spinning of research headlines to compete for media attention …

Read the full article on theconversation.com

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