8 JUNE 2017 | Hot on the heels of World Environment Day and it’s time to take to the waves for World Oceans Day: a global celebration and collaborative effort for a healthier ocean. The conservation action focus of this year is encouraging solutions to prevent plastic pollution. More than 80% of marine litter comes from land-based sources, and some predict that by 2050 our oceans could contain more plastic than fish. It’s easy to feel daunted and helpless when confronted by such an epic clean-up task, but small steps forward are vital.
If you haven’t seen the image of a poor turtle with a straw up his nose, do a little Google search and join the fight against plastic straws. In fact, there’s a whole raft of single use plastics we could easily do without: take-away coffee cup lids; over-packaged food; disposable cutlery and cups; plastic bags and plastic bottles. Some of these are so entrenched in our daily lives, that it feels almost impossible to do without them (giving up single-use plastics would make a supermarket shop a real challenge).
A few simple steps can make a big difference, and they are more important than ever when travelling or on holiday. Carry a reusable bag and a refillable water bottle, boycott microbeads (tiny polyethylene found in some beauty products and suncreams) and think twice before using any single-use plastic. Plastic alternatives are flooding the market thick and fast: try the sleek, glass-lined Bamboo Bottle; social-impact model Not Just A Bottle; reusable coffee cups made from waste rice husk by The Rice Way; and prettier KeepCup.
There are also heaps of inspiring organisations if you want to get hands on when it comes to ocean conservation. Beach cleans are a simple way to get involved and World Oceans Day have created an Aquatic Clean Up Guide for anyone interested. You can also check out groups like Beach Watch, Surfers against Sewage or the World Oceans Day listings to find out where a clean-up might be happening in your area. Terracycle has gone one step further to offer beach clean-ups the opportunity to recycle the rigid plastics that they collect.
Our Bouteco Heroes and so many other committed hotels around the world are doing their bit when it comes to ocean conservation — through educating locals, guests, setting up beach cleans and marine biology labs — and we look forward to sharing their stories. After all, without those glistening beaches, vibrant coral reefs, awesome marine life, wild oceans and mysterious sea mists, most of us wouldn’t be nearly as tempted to explore.