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Celebrating World Ocean Day

a blue and green ocean crashing onto a beach

Let’s start with a little bit of therapy. Close your eyes and imagine that you are sitting on the warm golden sand with the sun on your face and the ocean lapping gently at your toes. You can hear the sound of the waves and feel the warmth of the water. Then you feel something touching your toes. You open your eyes to see what little fish might be moving in for a nibble, but rather than a fish, you see a plastic bottle gently bobbing in the water.

Pollution of our seas is not the biggest issue that we have with our oceans, although it is the most publicised and the easiest to remedy. By creating less waste and ensuring that we always take our rubbish home from wherever we are, not just at the beach, we can stop the pollution.

But what about the effects of global warming on our oceans? This is as big an issue as climate change but gets much less coverage. Our oceans are warming at an alarming rate, which you may think is great for swimming, but a warm ocean holds much less oxygen than a cold one. This leads to fish species dying and even becoming extinct. Add to this a growing population and overfishing, and an important food source is becoming scarcer. Warming seas affect coral. If the water gets too warm, the corals become stressed and expel the algae living within them. This algae gives them colour and life; without it, they become bleached. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has suffered three mass bleaching events in the last five years.

The ocean is also the world’s biggest carbon sink. This means that it absorbs more carbon than it releases. When carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater, chemical reactions occur that alter the sea’s pH balance, making it more acidic. Over the last 200 years, we have emitted more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, meaning that our oceans have absorbed more and more carbon, to the point that our oceans are suffering from acidification. Much of our marine life uses calcium carbonate minerals to build skeletons, shells, and coral. An increase in acidity means that these organisms are at risk. If we continue to emit carbon dioxide at the same rate as we do now, by 2100, it is estimated that ocean acidity will have increased by 150%.

So why does this matter to us? Apart from being a food supply for the human population, these organisms are the foundation of the food chain for other animals and plants and play a fundamental role in creating productive oceans and a healthy planet for us all.

So, what can we do? Firstly, let’s remove and prevent further pollution. At Waste Experts, we carry out an annual beach clean, collecting rubbish before it makes its way into the water. Why not join us or arrange a beach clean of your own? Alternatively, wherever you are, just take a couple of pieces of rubbish home to dispose of properly. Together we can make a difference.

Waste Experts is committed to net zero and halting the current temperature rises. If you feel the same, reach out to a member of our team to see how we can help with your waste needs or for environmental advice on how you can improve your sustainability.

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