After the very informative Project Aware presentation by Tony, I was shocked to learn about the state of our ocean and the unnecessary, horrendous, destructive things we humans do to our beautiful waters and the wonders that lives within it. One of the facts – Every year 100 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean, flicked a switch which has now encouraged me to do something good for the ocean. Simple but staggering.
So as a traveller, new resident to New Zealand and employee of New Zealand Sea Adventure I see myself in a great position to start chipping away at this atrocious figure. Time for me to encourage people to join me and raise awareness.
The content on the internet is overwhelming and endless. Type into Google “plastic ocean pollution” and you are faced with millions of results. My research started taking all sorts of twists and turns and losing the objective of my mission. The simplest way to begin is with us. Raising awareness and promoting actions that we can do in our everyday lives, realistically.
You might ask what difference can a small number of people make in an ocean that covers 70% of the earth’s surface. Well a very small change, but it’s the awareness of what is happening out of sight that needs to be educated, understood and actively shared. There is a huge amount of tidying up to be done in our ocean so let’s not let the problem continue to grow.
A couple weeks ago I was helping out a PhD student from the U.S who was researching and studying seahorse communities and they’re different habitats. As I was doing my bit spotting the divers on the Mana marina wall, myself and a friend were actively picking up the rubbish, the majority being plastics. In the time frame of 30 minutes we filled 3 bags, stuffed full from the miniscule eroded plastic shards, to plastic bags, fishing line, buckets, flip flops and the list goes on.
So much had been washed in and built up and we were only able to scrape the surface. I looked closely into the sandy bank and it was riddled with tiny specks of colourful plastics. I began collecting these small pieces and realised that this is what the big bits eventually turn into after years and years of washing around, churning in the ocean. Tony pointed out in the presentation that soon one day our beaches will be multicoloured with these harmful pieces of plastic. Unnatural, unfriendly and very difficult to be undone as the number of these tiny pieces increase.
The following day a young seal appeared just around the corner from the Mana marina wall and was hanging out there for over a week. Being a sensitive soul and utterly disgusted with the human contribution to the ocean I decided to organised a clean-up evening on the Mana Marina wall. I got in touch with the marina manager and he has agreed and fully backs the clean-up. We will plough over the wall and collect all items that are not meant to be there, no matter how big or small this maybe.
So, come on down and join us for an hour or however much time you can spare. We all have a responsibility. We need to be aware and active of what is happening out there. Everything we collect is one less thing that joins the monstrosity out there… and our local friend will continue to visit us.
The clean-up will take place from 5.30pm to 7.00pm on Wednesday 8th November, meet at the NZSA shop or if later then you will see us at the marina wall. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring gloves, reusable bags and water; the sun will be shining for us. Afterwards to reward ourselves we will head back to New Zealand Sea Adventures and put on a BYO BBQ social. Bring a bottle of your choice some food for the BBQ and nibbles if you wish.
If this is something that you see yourself getting actively involved with either with us or in your own time. I would highly recommend purchasing this Atlantis Mesh drawstring bag $9.99. It packs up small and light so it can fit into your bag or your BCD pocket. The mesh material allows it to breathe, clean and dry easily after the dirty work of a clean-up.
A couple tips which I have collected:
Recycle your rubbish.
Use stainless steel reusable water bottles. In the long run it will save the planet and ourselves. Don’t give manufactures a good reason to produce more. FACT – ‘30 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away each year, it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce all that plastic and it takes about 1,000 years for the bottles to decompose. Decomposing plastic has its own risks. Plastics contain harmful chemicals, such as BPA (bisphenol A – an endocrine disruptor linked to cancer, neurological issues, diabetes, reproductive issues and more). Consuming these is bad enough; distributing them to the Earth in the form of 30 billion plastic water bottles a year is pretty scary.’ Taken from www.sustainablebabysteps.com
In the shops – leave unnecessary plastics behind, try to shop without plastics and if it’s unnecessary leave it for the shop to dispose of, say no to plastic bags – we don’t need them.
Pick it up, don’t assume the next person will.
Educate our youth – let them see the effects our rubbish has on the marine creatures.
Participate in clean ups.
New Zealand Sea Adventures Clean Up
Wednesday 8th November 2017
5.30pm – 7.00pm
At Mana Marina Wall
BYO BBQ Social back at NZSA afterwards