Among the major disasters of our time, in recent decades the problem of pollution of the seas and oceans is assuming gigantic and worrying proportions. In addition to intensive fishing, today marine biodiversity is, in fact, seriously compromised by man-made waste, especially plastic.
The latest report of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) shows that every year over 8 billion tons of plastic waste end up in the sea. If things won’t change, by 2050 this weight is estimated to be destined to exceed that of entire marine fauna. This waste is ingested by cetaceans, turtles and seabirds putting various marine species at risk, but also causes damage to humans, since the fragmentation of the plastic generates micro-particles which, ingested by fish, often end up arriving on our tables with easily imaginable consequences for human health.
In order to protect our seas and prevent their progressive deterioration, a re-education is required to regulate the global management of waste through research and experimentation and to guide the design of products made with this material. A change in the habits of the individual could however be able to make a difference by reversing a course that seems inevitably already traced.
5 THINGS WE CAN DO TO HELP THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT
1. To avoid disposable plastics
The UNEP report shows that it is mainly single-use plastic materials that end up in the sea which, once in the water, will take about 500 years to decompose. Therefore, we need to ban plastic bottles, food packaging, straws and cotton buds. Instead, we should prefer paper or glass containers, steel bottles and eco-sustainable food packaging.
2. To ban plastic shopping bags
For a conscious shopping that is also respectful of the marine environment, we should prefering supermarkets that use ecological bags and eco-bags for the fruit and vegetable department, as well as choosing biodegradable fabric bags and reusable shopping bags as elegant and practical containers to always carry with us instead of disposable plastic bags.
3. To eat local fish and to respect its seasonality
Considering that intensive fishing is one of the main reasons for the destruction of marine ecosystems and that the animal species that are part of it have decreased by as much as 39% in the last 40 years, eating local fish from sustainable fishing means helping to prevent their extinction.
4. To help the cleaning and protection of the beaches
The first step to benefit from a pristine sea is to keep the beaches of our coastline clean, making sure not to leave waste such as food scraps, cigarette butts or paper towels and urging others to do the same. Just as it is recommended not to take away “souvenirs” from our beach, in the form of sand and shells: elements that are an integral part of the marine ecosystem and which must not be removed.
5. To support those who fight for the marine environment
We can also make our contribution through economic support to organizations that work hard for the protection of the sea and oceans, such as MareVivo and the Surfrider Foundation or those that are activating research and experimentation initiatives on more sustainable materials such as #bagsfortheplanet project that Sacchettificio Toscano has developed and is still carrying out.