International Coastal Clean-up Day: Marine and Environment Care encourages responsible waste disposal
By Hope Orivri
The Ocean is continually burdened with waste, either dumped by people directly or washed into it from the beaches and rivers, making the Ocean suffer environmental degradation—but the Ocean needs each of us to take action for it to be healthy enough to continue to sustain mankind.
Every third Saturday in September has been dedicated to encouraging people across the world in coastal areas to be involved in some clean-up exercise of the coastlines.
In that however, the Marine and Environment Care (MEC) group is very concerned with creating awareness and educating communities of people on the need and importance of disposing their waste, particularly single-use plastics properly.
In our immediate environment, it is needful to follow a structured waste-disposal method that would make it easier for the waste disposal managers to cart away the waste. It is very evident that all manner of waste; plastics and other abandoned items are easily carried by wind and running water into nearby rivers and eventually into the oceans.
Across coastal communities in Nigeria where there are beaches; Tarkwa Bay, Ilashe, Ilaje-Bariga, Badagry and several others, the people have been known to just dump waste of all sorts into the water, with an erroneous believe that the water would take the waste away! Take the waste away to where?
The goal to achieving healthy oceans can only be reached through inclusive efforts from everyone.
Ocean resources that serve to sustain humans demand that the oceans be healthy enough for it to continue to serve humanity; of course, a filthy ocean that is forced to swallow all manner of waste cannot continue to give the quality of treasure that are expected.
Clogged waterways polluted with millions of plastics would continue to pose problems of distortions to the marine ecosystem; several studies have confirmed marine mammals such as birds, turtles and others die from plastic entrapments , while thousands others eat microplastics taking them for food.
Ocean clean-up exercises have revealed different types of marine litters including plastic straws, plastic bottles and plastic caps, food wrappers, cigarette butts and more. Plastics have been found to be particularly harmful because they are non-biodegradable. When the weather conditions cause the plastics to break down into tiny pieces, the marine mammals eat them and somehow, humans too have been eating the microplastics through seafood.
How Much Plastic Waste Are There In The Ocean?
There are estimated figures, depending on the data you find. However, some date say there are over five trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean chocking the life out of every living thing in the ocean.
You Can Help!
It is simple and doable, and you will be proud you did; begin with a personal commitment to not dump waste into the water in the beaches and rivers by your community; share the truth and fact with your immediate community members that the ocean would remain sick and at a point won’t continue to support us if and when it continues to suffer degradation from people activities!
The One Request
We want a healthier ocean and we want to keep it clean together. We can do this by engaging in planned beach clean-up exercises and importantly, regular reminders that we dispose of our waste properly.
As much as possible, stay away from single-use plastics; shopping bags, cutlery water bottles and food packages. We can use durable water bottles that can serve for long and have eco-friendly shopping bags. They are more cost-effective as you can re-use them over time.
Just as was recorded in 2018, over 23 million pounds of trash was removed from coastlines and waterways in just one day, you can play a role today; join a clean-up group for an exercise along a coastal area.
But you know what, if we dispose our plastic waste properly and stop the indiscriminate dumping of waste, we would be doing it just best.
Marine and Environment Care(MEC) group has dedicated itself to advocacy and other awareness creation efforts to enable different communities of people appreciate and involve in proper waste disposal patterns. This is important because when the people become aware and act responsibly with regards to waste disposal, the problem is addressed with very less stress on the environment and the resources needed for coastal clean-up exercises.
A Brief on how coastal clean-up started
The International Coastal Clean-up™ began more than 30 years ago, when communities rallied together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the trash littering their coastline. The movement was catalyzed by the passion and spirit of two committed individuals. Back in 1986, Linda Maraniss moved to Texas from Washington, DC, where she had been working for Ocean Conservancy. She’d been inspired by the work her Ocean Conservancy colleague Kathy O’Hara was doing on a ground-breaking report called Plastics in the Ocean: More than a Litter Problem that would be published the next year.
Linda and Kathy reached out to the Texas General Land Office, local businesses and other dedicated ocean-lovers, and planned what would become Ocean Conservancy’s first Clean-up. They asked volunteers to go beyond picking up trash and record each item collected on a standardized data card in order to identify ways to eliminate ocean trash in the future.
The Clean-up has grown immensely in the 30 years since Linda and Kathy’s first Clean-up. Volunteers from states and territories throughout the U.S. and more than 100 countries come together each year and participate in a Cleanup event near them.
Hope Orivri (C4D Specialist), is the Founder/CEO of Marine and Environment Care, a group that is particular about creating engaging awareness campaigns to enable communities understand the importance and need for a healthy environment (marine and on land).
The group identifies with inclusiveness of people and the outcome of their efforts toward a better environment and public health.
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