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Celebrating World Oceans Day: Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet

(OCEANS) Happy World Oceans Day! Originally created by The Ocean Project in 2002, World Oceans Day became nationally recognized as June 8 in 2008. Since then, the project has reached millions worldwide in advocating for healthier oceans and a healthier planet.

There’s no doubt that factors like climate change and pollution are threatening our Earth’s oceans, but it’s never too late to save them. Read on for ways to help save the oceans and reduce plastic pollution. — Global Animal

Photo credit: beezmap.com

“Healthy oceans, healthy planet” is this year’s theme for World Oceans Day. Photo credit: beezmap.com

USA Today, Molly Podlesny

Healthy oceans, healthy planet. That’s the theme for this year’s World Oceans Day.

This unofficial holiday isn’t just about enjoying beaches, but also respecting the earth’s aquatic resources. This year, people and organizations are encouraged to specifically work toward eliminating plastic pollution, according to the World Oceans Day website, an offshoot of The Ocean Project.

A January report from the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur foundation showed that by 2050, there could be more plastic (by weight) than fish in the planet’s oceans. As much as 165 million tons of plastic could be floating around the oceans currently.

Most plastic is not biodegradable, and a vast majority of it is not being recycled effectively, hence the massive amounts being dumped.

A seal trapped in plastic. Photo Credit: Nels Israelson

By 2050, there could be more plastic (by weight) than fish in the planet’s oceans. Photo Credit: Nels Israelson

Here are some ways to cut down on the volume of plastic waste:

1. Buy beer

One brewery in Florida has taken the theme to heart by creating six-pack packaging edible to animals on land and sea. Often, animals can choke or get stuck in the plastic rings that hold the tops of beer and soda cans together, but Saltwater Brewery’s rings are not only biodegradable but can actually be consumed.

2. Drink water differently

Garbage, mostly plastic floating in the hundreds of miles long ocean junkyard suitably named "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Photo Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography via National Geographic News

Garbage, mostly plastic floating in the hundreds of miles long ocean junkyard suitably named “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” Photo Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Instead of throwing away a plastic water bottle every time you need a drink, use reusable water bottles and refill them. You’ll save money AND create less waste.

3. Shop ’til you drop

Bring cloth bags with you when running errands. Plastic bags can get caught around sea animals necks or in their digestive tracks and harm them — California lawmakers are even attempting to ban plastic bags. Cloth bags are reusable, and usually can hold more, which means less trips between the car and the house.

4. Pick it up

Participate in a litter cleanup on a beach near you. The World Oceans Day website lists events all over the world at which volunteers gather to pick up trash and plastic from the beach. It’ll improve appearances and protect the wildlife.

5. Leave no trace

Fishing enthusiasts should follow the old hiker’s adage, “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” Make sure to bring all fishing gear and any trash back with you, whether you’re on the shoreline or on a boat (although in that case, you won’t even leave any footprints).

Boyan Slat plans to clean up the world's oceans in just five years. Photo Credit: The Daily Galaxy

A Dutch student named Boyan Slat plans to clean up the world’s oceans in just five years. Photo Credit: The Daily Galaxy

6. Other ways to help

Another way to help out the world’s waves is to eat sustainable seafood. This means fish or crustaceans that are caught in a way that preserves their populations, according to National Geographic. Sustainable fish farms are particularly conscious of pollution and disease, although it is possible for wild fisheries to practice sustainability by targeting fish lower on the food chain that are able to replenish their own populations quickly.

Alternatively, cut back on seafood consumption altogether, as popular species like salmon or tuna are extremely overfished.

Share your sustainable activities with the internet. World Oceans Day is even promoting “Selfie for the Sea,” a social media movement documenting people helping the oceans.

More information about the organization and the holiday can be found on their website, worldoceansday.org, or on their Twitter and Facebook.

More USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/06/08/world-oceans-day-june-8/85592548/

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