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

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Yellow fishes:

Have you ever seen a yellow fish painted next to a drain cover? If so it’s likely a part of the yellow fish campaign. The yellow fish campaign is run in Britain, and involves stencilling a yellow fish symbol next to drains to remind people that any waste entering them may go directly to the nearest open water – causing pollution and killing wildlife.

But we don’t put our rubbish down drains, do we? Well, we do. Litter is easily carried in water or by the wind, any dropped litter can so easily end up down a drain, and where it goes from there so unknown to us. It may go to a treatment plant, or into our waters. When in the water we really have no control over what happens next, oil is one of the biggest issues when in drain water, it doesn’t mix with water, and could potentially cause the suffocation of an entire lake. One litre of oil can pollute one million litres of drinking water⁴, a lot right? So remember only water down the drain. Oil can be recycled at local recycling centres, where it’s possibly used to make biofuel.

It’s believed that 10 % of all plastic debris ends up in the oceans¹, we might try to avoid directly placing debris in our water but, there are lots of drains that lead to water. That’s where the yellow fish campaign comes it, it raises awareness of drains which will go straight into the water works untreated. Some places the yellow fish will also tell you where they enter: beach, river, stream, lake, estuary etc. Marine litter is easily carried to the sea by the rivers².

So what kind of litter is found in these drains, in a survey it was found that 32% were tobacco products, 20% were plastic, 16% confectionary products, 16% paper, 9% glass, 4% metal, and 3% unclassified³. But Tobacco products aren’t that bad are they? 4.5 trillion cigarette butts enter the environment every year. Sadly, they will become more toxic as the filter will collect different chemicals found in the water, before some unsuspecting animal or child eats them by mistake.

But the yellow fish campaign is here to change that. It’s raising awareness of what we are doing to our waters, and it’s so simple to get involved!

As the campaign is run completely by volunteers you can do the project whenever you like. All you need to do is stencil a yellow fish next to surface water drains. To do this you do require the permission of the owner of the drain, on public land this will be your local highways department. You could also create leaflets to spread the word to your wider community.

Businesses can get involved too! Why not have your shop or development, more environmentally friendly and educate people too. Improve your environment to improve your profit, sounds good to me for just adding a simple yellow fish.

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For more information about how to get involved in England click here.

 

Lauren x

 

References:

  1. Thompson RC, Olsen Y, Mitchell RP, Davis A, Rowland SJ, John AW, McGonigle D, Russell AE (2004). Lost at sea: where is all the plastic? Science, 304, 838.
  2. Sadri, SS, & Thompson, RC (2014) On the quantity and composition of floating plastic debris entering and leaving the Tamar Estuary, Southwest England. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 81, 55–60.
  3. KAB, (2009) National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study. Keep America Beautiful, Inc. <www.kab.org/site/DocServer/Final_KAB_Report_9-18-09.pdf> accessed: 20/02/16
  4. Ashworth M, (2012) Yellow fish guidance manual [manual obtained in Exeter branch] 19/02/16

Marine Pollution – Is It All Just Plastic?

When we think of polluted seas, more often than not we focus on plastic littering; images of plastic bottles and can holders floating on the ocean’s surface. But there’s so much more to it than that. Sewage disposal and toxic chemicals are also huge problems when it comes to marine pollution, and it’s an issue we really must direct more attention to.

When it comes to sewage disposal, many parts of the world leave sewage flows untreated or under treated, allowing this to enter the ocean. For example, 80% of urban sewage discharged into the Mediterranean Sea is untreated. This can cause a whole world of problems, for example human disease and eutrophication. You can read more about eutrophication here; my colleague Kathini wrote all about it in a previous blog post.

When toxic substances enter a body of water, they either dissolve, become suspended in water or get deposited on the bed of the water body. The resulting water pollution causes the quality of the water to deteriorate and affects aquatic ecosystems. This polluted water can then get discharged into rivers, meaning that pollutants enter groundwater, rivers, and other water bodies. This highly contaminated water that has potential to carry disease causing microbes then ultimately ends up in our households, which is obviously a huge problem.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom! There are things you can do to help. For example, in many countries there’s an ongoing campaign to ‘bag it and bin it, don’t flush it!’ in aim to protect rivers and seas by decreasing the number of disposable items flushed down items, such as cotton bud sticks, sanitary towels and napkins which can travel through the sewers and end up back on our beaches. Basically, avoid flushing anything down the toilet that is made of plastic or non biodegradable material!

On the other hand, toxic chemicals are a different story. Almost every marine organism, from the tiniest plankton to whales and polar bears, is contaminated with man made chemicals such as pesticides and chemicals used in common consumer products. These chemicals have either been dumped into the ocean previous to the dumping ban made by the London Dumping Convention in 1972, or they make their way into the sea during their manufacture, use or disposal. The chemicals can escape into the water, soil and air during these processes, as well as in accidental leaks or fires in products containing these chemicals.

“Tiny animals at the bottom of the food chain, such as plankton in the oceans, absorb the chemicals as they feed. Because they do not break down easily, the chemicals accumulate in these organisms, becoming much more concentrated in their bodies than in the surrounding water or soil. These organisms are eaten by small animals, and the concentration rises again. These animals are in turn eaten by larger animals, which can travel large distances with their even further increased chemical load.”

However, like all preventable causes, there’s a way we can all prevent this from continuing. For example, one website suggests using natural air fresheners such as fresh flowers rather than chemical sprays; using compost and preventing the use of herbicides and fungicides. Other websites recommend using recycled products, giving away paints to people who will use them, using chemical based products before they go bad, limiting the use of cars and motor vehicles. 

There’s plenty we can do, if only we keep positive and keep looking for solutions, no matter how small scale they are!

Seren