World Oceans Day – Reducing Plastic Pollution

Oceans comprise of more than 70 percent of our planet’s surface and is a vital ecosystem for many animals. However, millions of metric tons of plastic find its way to the oceans every year and pollute the waters teeming with life. June 8 is World Oceans Day — a day dedicated to celebrating the ocean and finding ways to preserve the big blue.

Every year, an annual theme is selected for World Oceans Day and this year, the main focus is preventing and reducing plastic pollution. For teaching and informative resources, visit World Oceans Day’s website: http://www.worldoceansday.org/plastic-pollution-resources-1.

In 2010, 215 million metric tons of plastic ended up in the ocean (that’s the equivalent of 473,993,863,697 pounds of plastic!), and a lot of the plastic dumped in the ocean clump together into large masses of marine debris called gyres. The most notable gyre is the Great Pacific garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists have estimated that this garbage patch is roughly 1.6 million square kilometers (about twice the size of the state of Texas).

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters / Wikimedia Commons

World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day was proposed in 1992 at the Earth Submit by the Government of Canada. Since 2002, The Ocean Project has been coordinating the day and work with hundreds of organizations and volunteers to promote World Oceans Day. A petition was started to urge the United Nations to recognized June 8 as World Oceans Day. In December 2008, the UN officially recognized the day as such and World Oceans Day has been an important day to ocean conservation since.

What can you do to help?

One great way to reduce contribution to plastic pollution is to adopt a more green lifestyle. Single-use plastic products may be convenient but also produce a lot of plastic waste. By ditching the plastic and instead using multi-use, reusable alternatives, the overall plastic waste will decrease.

Reach out to your local organizations to find an event near you. Whether is it is a beach/ocean cleanup or just spreading awareness about the special day, it is easy to be involved and help prevent plastic pollution. To find an event near you, visit World Oceans Day’s website here.

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