Going Green:

World Ocean Day. Photo: AdobeWorld Ocean Day. Photo: Adobe
World Ocean Day. Photo: Adobe
World Oceans Day is on Saturday 8th June and World refill day is the 16th June. They’re two big days for the planet and while they’re close together in date, they’re closely linked too. The oil and gas industry is primarily responsible for both global warming and plastic pollution and this is impacting our oceans even more than it does on land.

Extreme marine heat waves last year, saw sea temperatures rise by 5 degrees in parts of the UK. That might sound pleasant for a swim but it wreaks havoc with eco systems as warming ocean temperatures decrease oxygen levels which can affect animals and plant life in our seas and the carbon pollution makes waters more acidic, which is why the coral reefs are dying.

Compared to 1982–1998, the annual number of marine heatwaves around the British Isles increased by four events per year on average from 2000 to2016. Larger increases of up to six additional events per year occurred in the Northern parts of the UK too.

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Marine temperatures could rise by over three degrees by the end of the century which could be catastrophic to marine life.

But it’s not just warming water temperatures that are affecting our oceans – which is where World Refill Day comes in.

It’s estimated there’s around one million tonnes of plastic in our oceans, that has a devastating impact on wildlife and ecosystems globally.

It’s estimated somewhere between 21 and 34 billion plastic reusable bottles end up in the oceans every year. Depressingly just nine per cent of all plastic ever produced – primarily from oil - gets recycled too.

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If companies like Pepsi and Coca Cola ensured just ten percent of their products utilised reusable bottles, marine plastic bottle pollution could reduce by 4.5 billion each year. That’s a staggering 22 per cent decrease.

There are things we can do to make sure we’re not contributing to those figures though. Almost every plastic bottle of pop or drink can be bought as a syrup for making at home with a fizzy water fountain

When it comes to shower gels and shampoos, buy bars instead of plastic bottles, it used to be ethical shops like the Body Shop and Lush who sold bars but now high street stores like Boots and Superdrug too, not only are they better for the planet but they’re not an issue at airport security either.

You might have to shop around but you can get items like washing powder, muesli, porridge, flour and pasta from some farm shops in refillable packaging if you take your own with you.

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At the supermarket, you can take your own containers and ask butchers and fishmongers and the deli counter to use them instead. See if you can get your milk delivered in glass bottles instead of buying plastic ones and use reusable coffee cups when you’re ordering out.

If you’re buying fish, make sure it’s from sustainable sources and look for the blue Marine Stewardship Council logo on your purchases to avoid old fishing nets being left at sea.

These are all small actions that combined could make a real difference to plastics in our seas.

Our oceans are so precious, not least because of the enjoyment they bring and the businesses they help thrive – The UK fishing industry contributes around £1 billion annually, so with World Oceans Day and World Refillable Day just a few days apart let’s all do what we can to reduce the mountain of plastic in our seas.

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