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7 Things Divers Can Do Every Day To Help Our Oceans

By Melissa Smith | Authored On June 7, 2017
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7 Things Divers Can Do Every Day To Help Our Oceans

You don’t have to donate $1 million to a marine conservation group or single-handedly come up with the solution to climate change to make a positive impact on the world’s water resources. (Although, if you’re so inclined, here are some of the best organizations to contribute your time and resources to.) Making little changes in your everyday life can really add up in keeping our oceans clean.

Jump to World Oceans Day Video

1) Cut down on plastics during mealtimes

Skip plastic cutlery, cling wrap and plastic baggies in your lunches. Buying reusable containers (plastic or, even better, glass) and bringing silverware from home can not only save you money in the long-run, but it also helps keep that plastic out of the trash — and our oceans.

Also, say no to straws. We editors of Scuba Diving make a point to ask for drinks without straws when we dine out, and we encourage you to do the same. After all, 500 million straws are used daily in the U.S. alone, which adds up to an exponential amount of plastic pollution worldwide. If you just can’t live without straws, there are plenty of reusable straw options out there, from glass to bamboo to stainless steel.

2) Change your coffee habits

We know they’re convenient, but don’t use the disposable coffee cups in the breakroom or at your favorite coffee shop. Styrofoam is a definite no-no, but even if the cups are paper, they’re most likely lined with polyethylene, a type of plastic that keeps the paper sturdy while filled with liquid. Bring your own mug or reusable to-go cup instead.

And even more convenient are K-Cups, the small, single-use plastic pods that are used with Keurig coffee makers. But, as the pods are neither biodegradable nor recyclable, they’ve caused a stir from environmental groups. Even K-Cup inventor John Sylvan told The Atlantic, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever [made them].” Luckily, you can still feed your java addiction with reusable K-Cups that you can fill with your favorite coffee. (And if you don’t use a Keurig, clean up your act by purchasing reusable coffee filters!)

plastic pollution in the ocean

Every year, we add about 14 billion pounds of trash to the ocean.

Shutterstock

3) Stop drinking bottled water

Investing in a good plastic, metal or glass water bottle will help you save money and save the planet. It may seem expensive to cough up around $20 for a reusable bottle (though good ones can be purchased for much less), but in the long run, it’s little compared to what you’d spend restocking your water supply.

If you hate the taste of your tap water, it’s worth it to spring for a water-filtering pitcher. Plastic bottles take between 400 and 1,000 years to decompose, and at the rate they’re used — Americans toss out more than 2.5 million bottles per hour — this proves a major threat to the health of the environment.

4) Recycle

It’s 2017. We can’t believe there are still people out there who don’t recycle. Every year, we add about 14 billion pounds of trash to the ocean. Used plastics make up more than 60 percent of that number, and plastics alone kill about 1 million sea creatures per year. It takes two seconds to separate recyclables, and two more seconds to put them in the correct bin. If you have questions about where to recycle items like electronics, batteries or hazardous materials, visit Earth911 to find a recycling center near you.

5) Write to your legislators

OK, so you might not need to do this every day (although that’s one way to get their attention), but contacting your elected officials is a great start to changing policy. Click here to find out who your elected officials are and how to contact them. There are plenty of templates online you can follow if you’ve never contacted one before, or feel free to just let your thoughts flow on their own.

Give the oceans a voice. Let your politicians know that the reality of climate change isn’t debatable. Demand that more attention be paid to the health of our seas. Change starts with you.

diver removes plastic bag from ocean

Dive with a purpose.

Shutterstock

6) Dive with a purpose

Have you ever been to a local watering hole the weekend after Memorial Day? Take it from us — you’ll see more empty Budweiser cans than fish beneath the waves. Picking up trash while diving is an excellent way to preserve the waters we love so dearly. We’ve seen everything from deflated “Happy Birthday” balloons to old shoes underwater, and while it makes us sad that people are so careless, we’re glad to do our part in removing trash from the sea.

One way to actively engage in diving for a cause is by joining Project AWARE, an organization that focuses in part on removing marine debris. Project AWARE events happen year-round, allowing divers across the globe to work together toward the goal of thriving oceans.

7) Participate in a World Oceans Day event

World Oceans Day, June 8, is a global celebration of the big blue. Click here to find an event near you, and use #WorldOceansDay on social media to show off how you celebrate — and help protect — our marine resources.