Ocean ghosts:

Today I will be looking into one of the biggest killers in our ocean¹.

But before I go on, I’d like you all to watch this video:

Sad isn’t it? We think that once the fish are caught that’s the end of the fishing, but it isn’t. Ghost nets can remain in the water for years, possibly centuries, depending on their design. They don’t just catch fish and sea creatures though, they have occasionally caught divers³ too. The worst is, the more it catches the more that are tempted in, and the nets rarely become too full, as when the weight is too great, they can sink where they’re picked clean by bottom dwellers, and then float back to the surface to repeat the process all over again. The only good news is that the longer the nets are there the more tangled they become which can limit the amount of entanglement they cause². The worse ones are buoy nets as they will definitely float back to the surface.

It isn’t just the organisms they catch but also the habitats they destroy, ghost nets can suffocate coral reefs⁶, which in turn then destroys the ecosystem that they support, breaking down whole food chains and life cycles.

So why do people abandon their nets? Some are simply lost in storms or bad weather, but there are some which when they become damaged are just abandoned where they are⁵. Or there is illegal fishing, snagged lines, there are lots of reasons it happens. But we can limit the issue.

Divers all over the world can take part in ocean cleans, to remove ghost nets, this group work globally with different diving organisations and charities to save our oceans. They don’t just remove the ghost nets though, they collect marine litter, recycle what they collect, document situations and educate, and it all started with a group of wreck divers. So never believe that you and your club couldn’t make a difference.

You don’t just have to be a diver though, snorkelers, boaters, just normal swimmers can help too. But please don’t get yourself injured on the way, make sure you’re in a group and other people know what is happening. If you see a trapped animal make sure you’re not in danger from it.

It’s working too, there is now legislation to try and reduce the amount of ghost nets in the water, new gear has markers so it can be linked to a specific fishing group, there is more technology to prevent gear being lost or from sinking to the seabed. They have even redesigned fishing gear so it degrades easier⁴. New biodegradable fishing nets should begin to degrade within two years⁵, which means after that time the net will have lost most of its ability to catch marine organisms, and if it does the could break free much easier⁵.

Small steps forward to safer healthier oceans, but steps all the same. Why not take part?

Lauren x

References:

  1. Mission blue. (2013) GHOST NETS, AMONG THE GREATEST KILLERS IN OUR OCEANS… http://mission-blue.org/2013/05/ghost-nets-among-the-greatest-killers-in-our-oceans/ (Accessed: 22 February 2016)
  2. Dunagan, C.(2000) The net effect: trouble The Sun, May 4th 2000,
  3. Esteban, M. (2002) Tracking Down Ghost Nets http://www.eurocbc.org/page54.html 21/02/16
  4. Gilman, E. (2015). ‘Status of international monitoring and management of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear and ghost fishing‘, Marine Policy, 60, pp. 225-239.
  5. An, H. Kim, S. Kim, P. Lim, J. and Surronen, P. (2016) ‘Use of biodegradable driftnets to prevent ghost fishing: physical properties and fishing performance for yellow croaker’, Animal conservation, pp. 1-11.
  6. Goldberg, J. Gunn, R. Hardesty, B.D. Heathcote, G. Peel, D. and Wilcox, C. (2015) ‘Understanding the sources and effects of abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear on marine turtles in northern Australia’, Conservation biology, 29(1), pp. 198-206
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Fukushimas’ fishes:

Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdowns happened in nearly five years ago on the 11th of March 2011. Along with obvious mixing of radioactive waste with the water directly, the four chemical explosions also released radioactive material into the air, and allowed it to travel through the wreckage into the ground water. More about the incident here:

 

So what was the damage done?

Well trace amounts of radioactive particles have been found all around the world from the incident, including Caesium-134/137 and Iodine-131². The coast around Fukushima has some of the strongest currents which means that any radioactive material that entered the water was quickly circulated around the global, and it’s still moving now. But radiation levels are lower than what we believe is dangerous for marine organisms and humans³ so we shouldn’t worry should we?

Yes. We should. In some recent studies done around the Fukushima coast there were results showing persistent contamination of some marine species, most of which were fish.⁴ But it’s okay right it’s just some fish. Radioactive material can move up the food chain spreading the radioactive material higher and higher, spreading across the oceans. For example, there have been higher levels of Caesium-134 found off the coast of California, not seen there before the Fukushima disaster⁴.

The disaster might be over but the problem isn’t. Caesium-137 has a half-life of thirty years, which means it could still be polluting out water for decades to come, especially through a food chain. It’s been predicted that it would take one year for Caesium-137 to reach it’s theoretical maximum in small fish and invertebrates, and up to 10 years for larger fish and around 15 for organisms such as killer whales⁵. Some people do believe that the increase in tumours seen on marine organisms is linked to the Fukushima disaster, but it’s honestly too early to tell yet with research still going on and new finding being released everyday.

We are still safe to eat fish, do not panic and start throwing away your fish fingers! The levels of radioactive molecules are still under the safe to eat limit, just higher than previously.

 

Solutions! I know, I always have some form of solution for this, but this time, I don’t. There is no solution to the isotopes which have already been released. But fighting towards more regulations around nuclear power plants can help prevent another incident like this happening again.

For more information about nuclear waste, look at our previous post, here.

Lauren x

 

References:

  1. Feature image
  2. Doughton, S. (2011) ‘Universities come through in monitoring for radiation’, Seattletimes.nwsource.com. (accessed 24th February 2016)
  3. Buesseler, KO. Jayne, SR. Fisher, NS. Rypina, II. Baumann, H. Baumann, Z. Breier, CF. Douglass, EM. George, J. MacDonald, AM. Miyamoto, H. Nishikawa, J. Pike, SM. Yoshida, S. (2012). ‘Fukushima-derived radionuclides in the ocean and biota off Japan’. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 (16). pp. 5984–8.
  4. DJ, Baumann, Z. and Fisher. NS, (2012). ‘Pacific bluefin tuna transport Fukushima-derived radionuclides from Japan to California’. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109 (24) pp. 9483–9486.
  5. JJ, and Gobas. FAPC, (2015) ‘Modeling 137Cs bioaccumulation in the salmon–resident killer whale food web of the Northeastern Pacific following the Fukushima Nuclear Accident’ Science of the total environment. 544. Pp. 56-67

Deadly plastics

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In the last ten years we have produced more plastic then we did in the last century, enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times! Plastic is the largest source of marine litter in the ocean, billions of pounds of plastic can be found in ocean upwelling zones making up about 40% of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80% of all pollution enters the ocean from land. Plastic is everywhere, small fragments are found nearly everywhere on earth. Harmful chemicals leached by plastics are present in the bloodstream and tissues of almost every one of us. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the biggest ocean garbage site in the world located off the coast of California in the North pacific gyre. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.

The impacts on animals

Marine animals mistake plastic for food and are constantly ingesting plastics. Fish in the North pacific ingest 12,000- 24,000 tons of plastic each year this causes internal injuries, death and bioaccumulation. (Bioaccumulation is the build up of substances or chemicals inside an organism). Sea turtles also mistake floating plastics for food such as plastic bags, which unfortunately resemble their favourite food, Jellyfish. Although loggerhead sea turtles have been found with soft plastic, ropes, Styrofoam, and monofilament lines in their stomachs. Ingestion of plastic can lead to blockage in the gut, ulceration, internal perforation and death; even if their organs remain intact, turtles may suffer from false sensations of satiation and difficulties in reproduction. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds ingest plastic every year. Plastic ingestion reduces the storage space in the stomach, causing birds to consume less food and eventually starve. They also feed the small pieces plastic from their stomach to their chicks, mistaking it for food.

Marine animals are also suffocated by plastics such as carrier bags and six pack holders, which can block air passageways and/or cause abnormal growth patterns.

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Entanglement occurs when common items like fishing line, strapping bands and six-pack rings get wrapped around animals affecting their mobility. Once entangled, animals have trouble eating, breathing and/or swimming, all of which can have fatal results. Marine mammals suffer from entanglement the most as they are larger. Large amounts of plastic have been found in the habitat of endangered Hawaiian monk seals, including in areas that serve as pup nurseries. Entanglement deaths are severely undermining recovery efforts of this seal, which is already on the brink of extinction. Entanglement in plastic debris has also led to injury and mortality in the endangered Steller sea lion, with packing bands the most common entangling material. In 2008 two sperm whales were found stranded along the California coast with large amounts of fishing net scraps, rope and other plastic debris in their stomachs.

What can we do?

According to the European Commission, 800,000 tonnes of single-use plastic bags are used every year in the European Union. The average citizen used 191 of them in 2010, and only 6% were recycled. More than four billion bags are thrown away each year in Europe. Indeed, the on-going problems associated with disposable plastic bags have prompted councils to find ways of getting shoppers to cut down. And so the 5p charge was introduced to the UK, the scheme aims to reduce the use of single-use plastic carrier bags, and the litter associated with them, by encouraging people to re-use bags.

This is a good start but what else can be done? You can be part of the solution by making these 10 lifestyle changes today:

  1. BUY products with little or no plastic packaging, and products made from recycled materials.
  2. REDUCE the amount of plastic and other waste you use by Bringing Your Own metal water bottle, coffee mug, bag, etc.
  3. RECYCLE as much as possible.
  4. REFUSE to use plastic single-use items, such as plastic grocery bags, plastic tableware and plastic cups.
  5. DISPOSE of your waste properly.
  6. KEEP storm drains clean.
  7. SPREAD the word! Tell friends how to properly dispose of trash and recycling, and encourage them to Bring Their Own.
  8. GET INVOLVED in local politics and encourage our leaders to pass bans on plastic bags, Styrofoam containers, and more.
  9. PARTICIPATE in an SOS beach or river cleanup!
  10. REPORT litter incidents in Monterey County through this easy online tool.

Kathini 🙂

References:

http://saveourshores.org/what-we-do/pollution-prevention/

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/single-use-plastic-carrier-bags-why-were-introducing-the-charge/carrier-bags-why-theres-a-5p-charge

What are algal blooms? And what do they have to do with climate change?

Following on from my previous post last week, I will today be discussing the implications of eutrophication.

Algal blooms are formed from microalgae (or phytoplankton) they are single celled plants, which live in the ocean. Phytoplankton are buoyant and so they live in the upper part of the water column called the photic zone, it is the depth of light penetration in the water. This is important as these organisms live by photosynthesis.

Macro algae grow so quickly and cover so much surface area that the algal blooms prevent sunlight from reaching other plants stopping photosynthesis and resulting in a lack of oxygen in the water. They also impact other organisms by releasing natural toxins which are harmful to animals, humans and even livestock.

Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are also photosynthetic bacteria which occur naturally in both freshwater and marine water bodies. Blue- green algae are known to be the most commonly toxic bloom, other blooms can also be caused by dinoflagellates in marine or estuarine water bodies these are the red tides that we see. However, not all harmful algal blooms are visible by the human eye.er678ihbn

Algal blooms occur as a result of these microalgae overgrowing and creating dense clouds in the water. Algal blooms are a natural occurrence but eutrophication is causing them to be far more common and harmful. An influx of nitrogen and phosphorous into water causes overgrowth of algae. Combinations of environmental factors are required for algal blooms to form: Warm waters, plenty of sunlight, large amount of nutrients and high CO2 levels. Which are incidentally are all affects of climate change.

“Scientists predict that climate change will have many effects on freshwater and marine environments. These effects, along with nutrient pollution, might cause harmful algal blooms to occur more often, in more waterbodies and to be more intense.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom, scientists working at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been collaborating with universities in the Gulf of Maine to the Puget Sound to develop new systems that are able to track and predict harmful algal blooms (HAB). In Massachusetts, scientists have been experimenting with a sensor that is able to identify three different types of dangerous microscopic algae, which then offers an early warning if they’re detected in the water. In the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA’s HAB Forecasting System pulls together satellite imagery, information about water conditions gathered by weather buoys, and observations from scientists in the field to map blooms and predict how they will spread.

Knowing when and where HABs are likely to occur can help scientists and public officials minimize harm to people and marine life. And learning more about the causes of the blooms may ultimately help us prevent them.

To read more and learn about the climate impacts on harmful algal blooms visit:

http://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/climate-change-and-harmful-algal-blooms Environmental Protection Agency

Regional climate change and harmful algal blooms in the northeast Atlantic http://aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_51/issue_2/0820.pdf

Kathini

Marine litter and its cost…

The British coastal holiday market is estimated at £4.7billion annually. This includes another £1.2billion if you include the 110 million day-trippers. The coastal holiday market dominates the local economy of the South West of England, West of Scotland and West Wales.

If a beach is flooded in litter, you’re probably not going to visit that beach are you?

Marine litter can cause beaches to close. This has happened in the US. Consequently, littering is a high-priority issue with coastal local authorities, who may spend a great deal of money clearing litter from their beaches.

Direct costs include collect & disposal of litter a beach + higher/purchase of cleaning equipment. The hidden costs include lost revenue, education, health and harbour costs.

In a survey of 56 coastal Local Authorities, the total cost of beach cleaning was reported to be £1,953,238 for England, Scotland and Wales. This does not represent the total amount of local authorities, which is why total costs will exceed well over £2million.

The problem marine litter causes at a local level:

2 million visitors per year visit Somerset’s resort of Weston-Super-Mare. Tourist trade is worth £14 million per annum to the local economy. The recreational quality of its two beaches are therefore very important to the local community. Weston Beach is mechanically raked and swept once or twice per day in the summer, and is hand-picked in the winter.

The annual cost of cleaning on the two beaches is estimated as £100,000.

Using Marine Litter

Some people think of marine litter as rubbish that can’t be used again. Other people use marine litter to create something that can be used in everyday life. From driftwood mirrors to marine litter guitars, people can create extraordinary things out of ‘rubbish’!

http://marinedebrisart.blogspot.co.uk

All it takes is a bit of imagination, some marine litter, a bit of glue or screws. And you could end up with something like this.

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http://www.dorisbrixham.co.uk

Locally (Devon) we have our own treasure hunter, teacher Louise Slee, who has spent her spare time creating beautiful masterpieces from marine debris found on her local beach. Her work brings great awareness about marine litter too, if you would like to find out more about her work, she runs a Facebook page called Tregantle Beach, Trinkets, Treasures and Trash. A wonderful way to make your beach clean more arty! For more information about setting up a beach clean read our post here.

So the next time you’re walking along a beach and see some litter, take it! Start collecting plastic, wood or even glass. You never know, you could create the next mantelpiece that’s going above your fireplace or even a gift to give someone as a Christmas present.

 

Josh

 

References:

http://www.gov.scot/Uploads/Documents/Impacts%20of%20Marine%20Litter.pdf

KIMO. (2000). Impacts of Marine Debris and Oil: Economic and Social Costs to Coastal Communities (KIMO).ISBN

Rees, Gareth, and Kathy Pond. “Marine Litter Monitoring Programmes—A Review Of Methods With Special Reference To National Surveys”. Marine Pollution Bulletin 30.2 (1995): 103-108. Web.

cdn.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/001/116/633/original_rectangular-driftwood-mirror.jpg

Nuclear waste, what’s the issue?

The Wall Street Journal has recently published an article about plutonium levels of the coast of San-Francisco. They claim that plutonium levels are a thousand times above the average on the sea floor. 50,000 containers of radioactive waste were dumped 75 miles of the coast of San-Francisco some 20 years ago and the study claimed this affected the eco system not just locally but globally. This was the first study of its kind.

When nuclear waste is properly disposed of it is placed into steel containers that are then placed inside a further cylinder made of solid concrete. These protective layers prevent radiation from leaking out and harming the immediate environment that surrounds it. This is a cost effective way of dealing with hazardous material, however there is still great debate about the dangers economically and environmentally that surround nuclear waste disposal.

One of the problems is the extent of time that the waste remains radioactive this is due to its long half-life. Nuclear waste continues to be radioactive and therefore dangerous for thousands of years. This causes a problem because if the steel containers that the waste is stored in are damaged then the volatile substance will leak out and have an adverse effect on the environment for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Ocean disposal of nuclear waste was actually implemented by 13 different countries but thankfully this ceases to be the case for obvious reasons. The hazardous effect that nuclear waste could have on animal and plant life in the ocean is tremendous. Exposure to the radionadides that nuclear waste contains increases the risk of damage to tissue, DNA and overall health of any living organism. It can also cause huge birth defects.

In 1982 the US government made a federal law that states that highly radioactive wastes must be permanently disposed of in a safe fashion, instead of just dumping in its raw form anywhere. This was one of the first laws passed on nuclear waste disposal.

Nuclear waste can come in many forms; it can be solid, liquid or gas depending on the number of radionadides contained in it. They can remain radioactive for seconds or millions of years. Thankfully nuclear waste disposal in our oceans is now illegal on the world stage. When correctly disposed of many people believe that nuclear waste has no negative effects and can be a great alternative to oil and coal driven power but this is still under great scrutiny and discussion.

Tom 🙂

The Not-So-Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a myriad collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. Marine debris is litter that ends up in oceans, seas, and other large bodies of water. 

So for example, plastic litter we throw on the ground such as plastic rings from cans of drink, food packaging and plastic bottles all inevitably end up in our oceans where currents and wind carry it into the biggest ocean gyre on planet Earth. The patch is characterized by exceptionally high relative concentrations of ‘pelagic’ plastics, chemical sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre.

An ocean gyre is a system of circular ocean currents formed by the Earth’s windpatterns and the forces created by the rotation of the planet, and the video below discusses the butterfly effect of how an individual’s littering habits can contribute to a much more catastrophic issue.

Charles J. Moore discovered the Great Pacific Garbage patch in 1997 while returning to southern California after finishing the Los Angeles-to-Hawaii Transpac sailing race. He and his crew caught sight of trash floating in the North Pacific Gyre, one of the most remote regions of the ocean. He wrote articles about the extent of this garbage, and the effects on sea life, which attracted significant attention in the media and let to his 1999 study that showed there was six times more plastic in this part of the ocean than the zooplankton that feeds ocean life.

“As I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean,” Moore later wrote in an essay for Natural History, “I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic. It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments.” An oceanographic colleague of Moore’s dubbed this floating junk yard “the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

gr8-pacific.jpg

The problem with the accumulation of plastics in this gyre is that plastic is non biodegradable. It simply breaks into smaller pieces over time without degrading. This means that the garbage patch will be here for thousands upon thousands of years. A lot of this garbage patch is made up of a microplastic soup – this can’t be seen by satellites, but the cloudy water is made up of tiny microplastics that are fatal to marine life.

So how can we help this absolutely catastrophic issue? First of all, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is so far from any country’s coastline that no nation will take responsibility ir provide funding to clean it up – the sailor who discovered the vortex, Charles Moore, says that cleaning up the patch would “bankrupt any country that tried it.” However, many individuals  and international organisations are dedicated to preventing it from growing even more, such as The Ocean Cleanup.

You can help by donating to The Ocean Cleanup HERE.

Seren.

I don’t ‘ship’ shipping…

 

Shipping is a huge industry as it’s hugely important for trade between countries – over 90% of global trade is done by cargo ships. With around 50,000 merchant ships it’s no surprise there is an issue with them causing marine pollution issues. If you think that one massive container ship is equal to 50 million cars then you should be able to imagine the huge amount of fumes and other pollutants it must be emitting to the atmosphere and our oceans!

How the ships release pollution:

  • Release of oil and chemicals – ships obviously need oil/petrol to run and many ships also carry oil around as their cargo; this can then be released into the ocean by accidental spills and operational discharges.
  • Release of biocides – antifouling paints (which are used on ship hulls to prevent the build-up of barnacles, algae, sponges, molluscs etc.) generally contain toxic substances; a big concern is tributyltin (TBT) which has been shown to have a damaging effect on the endocrine system – being most problematic in molluscs.
  • Air pollution – the fuel used for ships is basically waste oil, it is very thick and contains a lot of sulfur. Shipping is by far the largest transport polluter of sulfur oxides in world, releasing 20 million tons annually.
  • Waste disposal – garbage and sewage from the ships is often just dumped in the sea; this contributes to the plastic pollution of the oceans as well as eutrophication.
  • Transfer of invasive species – as ships are travelling all over the world they can unintentionally pick up species from one place and carry them to another (generally on their hull or in their ballast water). When new species are introduced to a new environment they can sometimes have a detriment effect and become a pest.
  • Physical damage – from dropping of anchors, dredging, noise and wave disturbance and even the hitting of whales and other marine mammals

 

The distribution of shipping pollution is due to the shipping routes – more damage is detectable in shipping lanes and ports as more ship congestion is found in these places.

 Map of the worlds shipping lanes showing the traffic density:

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Image: Fred Pierce

 

So what can be done to reduce the pollution caused by shipping?

Because the shipping industry is so huge and so important for the economy it’s not really something that can be stopped, however measures can be taken to make sure that it is more environmentally friendly. However, as members of the general public all we can really do is make more people aware of the damage that is currently being caused and thus help to persuade large organisations to make a change to the legislation.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is basically the rules that all ships on the sea have to apply to:

http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_overview_convention.htm

The International Marine Organisation (IMO) is the organisation responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. You can check out their website for more details on what they do: www.imo.org

Beth x

 

References

Gizmag.com, (2016). Big polluters: one massive container ship equals 50 million cars. [online] Available at: http://www.gizmag.com/shipping-pollution/11526/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

MNN – Mother Nature Network, (2016). Eniram outsmarts waves to reduce cargo emissions. [online] Available at: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/blogs/eniram-outsmarts-waves-to-reduce-cargo-emissions [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Network, M. (2011). 8 Ways in which Cruise Ships Can Cause Marine Pollution. [online] Marine Insight. Available at: http://www.marineinsight.com/environment/8-ways-in-which-cruise-ships-can-cause-marine-pollution/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Omae, I. (2003). Organotin Antifouling Paints and Their Alternatives. ChemInform, 34(14).

OSPAR Commission, (2010). Releases of anti-fouling chemicals. Assessment of the impact of shipping on the marine environement. [online] Available at: http://qsr2010.ospar.org/media/assessments/p00440_supplements/p00440_suppl_5_release_of_anti-fouling_chemicals.pdf [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Wwf.panda.org, (2016). Marine problems: Shipping. [online] Available at: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/problems/shipping/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Eutrophication, ending it at home:

In a previous post you learnt about eutrophication and things that can be done on a large scale to stop it, but what about us, the individuals and communities, how can we help the cause? Well in this post we will learn about just that.

First of all, if you want to learn more about eutrophication, read our previous post  

So what can we do at home?

  1. If you live near a body of water you could plant more trees and plants as they can filter the elements that lead to eutrophication. Why not make it a community activity and have a tree planting day? Make sure to receive permission of the land owner first.
  1. Fundraise and purchase an aerator for your local water body. Hold a charity night to raise money, you could do a pollution quiz. 😉 Aerators are great because they increase the dissolved oxygen level, it will prevent the deterioration of the water. Possibly even saving the inhabitants.
  2. If you live in a farming community why not have a town discussion on moving to organic farming, if possible. It was found that organic farm land ‘significantly reduce harmful nitrate leaching’¹ over conventional farming methods.
  3. A side effect of eutrophication is algal blooms – this is what will definitely kill your water bodies if out of hand, so why not have a river/canal/stream clean, and remove some of the algae. Here is a link to the waterways association which can help you getting started.

 

 

  1. Change your cleaning products. Eutrophication and algal blooms have been linked to phosphate which is found in some cleaning products², so make sure you read the labels. I know I will from now on.
  2. In my home town we have a lot of development, and when they started developing near the canal, our local water body, people protested about wanting silt fences placed around the site to project the canal from sediment in run off. Here is a UK site that can provide them, Hy-Tex. The silt fences are widely used on construction sites because of the low cost and simplicity³, why not fight for them to be used in your area?

 

Yes most of these tips aren’t directly about the ocean, but streams lead to rivers, rivers lead to estuaries and estuaries lead to the ocean, and your help matters. I hope you find some of these useful, there will be more information to help with algal blooms in a coming post, and remember, every little change can make a difference.

Lauren 🙂

 

References:

  1. Kramer SB, (2006) Reduced nitrate leaching and enhanced denitrifier activity and efficiency in organically fertilized soils. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103 (12): 4522–4527.
  2. Gilbert PA, Dejong AL (1977) The use of phosphate in detergents and possible replacements for phosphate. Ciba Foundation symposium (57): 253–268
  3. Sprague CJ, (1999) Assuring the Effectiveness of Silt Fences and Other Sediment Barriers. Proceedings of Conference 30, International Erosion Control Association, Nashville, TN. pp. 133-154.
  4. Feature image.

Top 10 Marine Charities YOU Can Donate To

  1.  The Ocean Cleanup 

The Ocean Cleanup is a charity that works towards preventing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from growing any bigger. The ocean gyre is a haven for tonnes upon tonnes of marine litter and it’s a vital cause to support.

2. Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy have a sustainable vision for a healthy ocean. They use science-based solutions to tackle the biggest threats to our ocean by restoring the gulf, confronting ocean acidification and contributing to trash free seas.

3. Surfers Against Sewage (SAS)

SAS are working at community, corporate and government level to tackle the marine litter crisis; they have a vision to reduce UK beach litter by 50% by 2020. This is a great charity for UK residents to support for a solution closer to home, and they have multiple campaigns within their overall target.

4. Oceana

Oceana’s vision is “to make our oceans as rich, healthy, and abundant as they once were” through fighting against overfishing, marine pollution and destructive fishing processes through identifying practical solutions and making them happen.

5. Greenpeace

Greenpeace are aiming to campaign and create Ocean Sanctuaries that protect several miles of sea, enabling fish to grow bigger, produce more eggs and create a healthier more thriving ocean. They’re also fighting against littering and overfishing.

6. Sailors For The Sea

Sailors For The Sea are passionate sailors that are striving for cleaner, healthier seas, by holding regattas, teaching in the classroom and running awareness campaigns.

7. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

‘Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.’

8. Plastic Pollution Coalition

The Plastic Pollution Coalition urges people to live by the 4 R’s – Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Reduce. Refuse one use plastics, reuse those plastics that are resuable, recycle and reduce your consumption of plastics. They are fully in support of reducing the amount of plastics in our seas.

9. Sylvia Earle Alliance

The SE Alliance wants to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas such as that of Greenpeace.

10. Surfrider Foundation

A non-profit organization working to protect and preserve the world’s oceans by focusing on water quality, coastal ecosystems, beach access, beach and surf spot preservation.

Seren x