HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) —
The world’s oceans cover more than 70 percent of the planet and host a wildly diverse ecosystem — but they are in crisis, and it’s up to us to care for them. Here are four ways to honor the oceans in recognition of World Oceans Day on June 8.
1. Head down to the coast and pick up some trash
Trash — especially plastic and other materials that are not biodegradable — wreaks havoc on marine ecosystems. Larger pieces of plastic can entangle mammals or become lodged in their orifices, leaving marine wildlife unable to breath. Animals can also ingest smaller pieces of refuse, which accumulate in their bodies and can cause serious health problems.
Participate in a beach cleanup event to take care of the trash on the beach before it poses a threat to marine animals.
2. Ditch the disposable plastic, especially water bottles
It takes a plastic bottle 450 years to decompose, according to government estimates. During that time, a surprising amount of plastic makes its way into waterways. In fact, researchers estimate the world’s oceans will contain more plastic than fish when measured by weight in just a few decades.
Many of the disposable plastic things that we use every day — water bottles, straws, grocery bags, cutlery, etc. — have more eco-friendly alternatives. Invest in a reusable water bottle, bring a set of silverware to work to eat your lunch with and grab a reusable bag for your groceries. If you must use plastic, be sure to reuse or recycle afterward.
3. Learn first-hand about the threats the oceans face
This weekend, the Houston Zoo will host a World Oceans Day event inviting the public to celebrate the world’s oceans and collaborate for a better future. Visitors will learn about marine debris and see an oversized turtle excluder device to learn more about safer fishing methods.
On Thursday, the Houston Museum of Natural Science will also hold their World Oceans Day Family Festival from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., which will feature a “dive” on life-size 2D coral reefs and various hands-on exhibits.
And out in Galveston, the 2017 World Oceans Day Festival will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Stewart Beach. The event brings together scientific organizations and local artists for a fun-filled event about ocean conservation.
4. Commit to purchasing seafood only from sustainable sources
Climate change and pollution have wreaked havoc on already fragile marine ecosystems, leaving them teetering on the edge of collapse. When purchasing seafood, be sure to buy only from sustainable sources. Overfishing of certain species can harm marine ecosystems, and certain fishing and harvesting practices can cause more harm than good. Bycatch, the term for non-target species that are caught and essentially discarded as collateral damage, is a harmful byproduct of unsustainable marine fisheries.
The Monterey Bey Aquarium in California runs a Seafood Watch program to help consumers identify sustainable seafood.
(Copyright ©2017 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.)