Marine conservation needs more awareness


Photo by Paige Sanders

The sign at the entrance to Carbon Beach in Malibu emphasizes the importance of not littering and protecting the environment.

Paige Sanders, Reporter

Going to the beach is an activity enjoyed by many. There’s nothing better than going to the beach on a hot, sunny day and cooling off by going for a swim in the ocean. After going to the beach, it is key to remember to pick up after yourself. Being environmentally friendly and well informed about the health of the ocean is of high importance because the ocean provides for life on Earth. 

It has always been important to me to care for the ocean. It is essential to be aware of the damage pollution can have on the ocean and the things we, as humans, are doing that are negatively impacting its health. Plastic pollution is a major problem across the globe and plastic is polluting the ocean every day. 

“Plastic is everywhere and it’s in everything we use. It is an issue that affects the ocean because the land is above the ocean and gravity works to move all of that stuff down toward our ocean. Microplastics are in the air and we’re breathing them in. They’re moving all around the globe and ending up in the ocean,” Researcher and Adjunct Professor Nick Schooler said in a Zoom interview. 

According to Surfers Against Sewage, two-thirds of plastic comes straight from land-based sources. This includes littering on the beach, drains from rivers, industry spills and poorly managed landfill sites. 

“The issue surrounding plastic is the overuse of plastic. It’s not just that plastic bag in the wind or that soda bottle that could potentially make its way to the ocean. Even if you put it in the right trash can or tried to recycle it, the big issue is a lot of other forms of plastic are making their way into the oceans, particularly microplastics, ones that are either manufactured that way or have broken down over time into smaller pieces,” Schooler said. 

There needs to be more awareness and thought regarding marine conservation. The ocean is very important and beneficial because it is our main source of oxygen, regulates the climate and provides many sources of food; it is crucial to be mindful of the actions we can take to sustain the ocean. 

According to the Marine Conservation Institute, “The ocean is essential for all life on Earth–including humans. To ensure a sustainable future, we must protect and preserve healthy marine ecosystems.” 

There are several simple steps to take that can positively benefit the ocean. First, pick up and discard trash after visiting the beach. This will ensure no marine animals will ingest the trash and it will prevent animals from entanglement or even death. 

Additionally, try to avoid using single-use plastic. This includes plastic bottles, straws, foam containers and plastic shopping bags. It is vital to avoid using this type of plastic because they do not biodegrade and are extremely harmful to the planet. Using this type of plastic further contributes to the plastic pollution problem in the ocean. 

“There’s a lot of nuance behind plastic pollution that I don’t think people pick up on. It’s not just to get rid of all plastic, it is to do the best we can to reduce plastic when we can and use it as little as possible,” Schooler said. 

Another way to contribute to ocean protection is to reduce the intake of red meat, beef, lamb, goat and fish. It would be more sustainable to consume chicken and plant-based proteins.

We are all connected to the ocean, as it is one of our main sources of life on Earth. It is essential everyone is aware of the health of the ocean and how plastic pollution and other forms of pollution can significantly harm its state. It is important to remember the simple ways in which people can help keep the ocean clean. Small steps can make a big difference. It starts with you.