Now, we’re not exactly making waves by highlighting the fact that our beautiful oceans are under serious threat. However, we do need to make a splash and draw attention to the biggest threats our oceans are facing and how we can overcome them.
We’re pretty sure that plenty of aquatic creatures can relate to Katy Perry’s “do you ever feel like a plastic bag…” lyric, as the plastic pollution in our oceans continues to grow.
It is estimated that around 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year! The amount of plastic substances entering our seas is increasing at such a rapid rate that, reportedly, in less than 10 years there will be 250 million tonnes in the ocean. By 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than there is fish!
Made from a type of polymer, plastic materials make their way into oceans when litter is blown in from land, or isn’t recycled properly. Plastic objects that end up in oceans cause major harm to the beautiful creatures that live there. These creatures can become tangled in plastic objects, mistake plastics for food, and have their habitats destroyed due to the plastic pollution epidemic.
Plastic takes hundreds and hundreds of years to break down, and when they do eventually break down, they aren’t fully gone – they turn into microplastics.
The estimation of five trillion microplastics and particles in our oceans is extremely optimistic. Microplastics include synthetic fibres, beads, and broken-down plastic waste.
These particles harm marine life and can in turn harm humans. Marine lifeforms mistake microplastics for food, consume them, and then humans consume seafood – thereby consuming microplastics in a secondary manner. The risk of microplastics to humans is yet unknown, but what is known is that they contain toxic chemicals that could enter our bloodstreams.
It’s time to say NO to plastic materials and come together to save our oceans. You see those plastic straws in your drinks? You don’t need them! Try swapping them for straws made from biodegradable materials such as cardboard or paper, or permanent straws made from stainless steel.
What else can you do?
- Carry reusable bottles and coffee cups to avoid single-use ones
- Avoid excessive plastic packaging
- Take your own shopping bags to the supermarket – or indeed, our gift shop
Be sure to check out what Scotland thinks of conservation with our survey infographic.
Before you’re quick to grab the sunshades for the nice weather, take a moment to think: Why is it really warm when it’s not even the summer months yet? Global warming, that’s why. Two words which seem to have been thrown about for years now, yet are still extremely relevant.
It’s caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, but how is the warming of our planet still a major issue for our oceans?
As the planet becomes warmer, so does its oceans. This has resulted in an abundance of coral bleaching, because algae is rejected from the coral due to its temperature – leaving the coral colourless and prone to diseases.
Coral reefs are extremely important because they are home to thousands of marine lifeforms and help to prevent dangerous waves and tropical storms from hitting the shore. As coral reef habitats are destroyed and temperatures increase, it forces out many creatures, thereby increasing the levels of fish migration.
Fish migration is also due to temperature increase, because fish move around to different habitats as their native waters become too warm. This disrupts the ocean chemistry and also has a huge impact on the livelihoods of fishermen and on human consumption of seafood.
Reducing greenhouse gases and short-lived pollutants such as soot and methane. Take a look here to see how you can help the environment and our oceans this summer.
Ocean acidification is caused by oceans absorbing the large amount of carbon dioxide that is pumped into the atmosphere. This makes our oceans extremely acidic, which in turn poses threats to coral reefs, marine life, and water structures.
Carbon dioxide uses carbonate ions to form carbonic acid. In order to gather these ions, it takes them from creatures with calcium shells (shellfish and coral). It also forces creatures with gills to shunt energy to be able to rebalance the pH of their blood. Acidification of our oceans is one of the biggest and worst issues we are facing.
Impairing the ability of aquatic creatures to survive and develop, acidification also creates “dead zones”. This is where the top layer of oceans, lakes, and rivers are so depleted of oxygen that the water is no longer able to support marine life.
If we can all work together to reduce our individual carbon footprints, we can help to save our oceans. Here’s a few tips on what we could do:
- Use “green electricity”
- Walk, cycle, or use public transport instead of driving
- Be energy-efficient, both at home and at work
Let’s Make Waves Together
Here at Deep Sea World we’re trying hard with conservation to help protect our beautiful oceans. It would be great if you could join us! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and together we can try restore the beauty of our oceans.