Celebrating World Oceans Day: What Strides Have We Made in Ocean Protection in the Past Decade?
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When you turn on the news, you’ll most likely find negative stories about tragedies happening around the world. Most often, you can hear about how climate change is affecting the planet. There are many ways the Earth is changing to adapt to human pollution, but don’t get lost in the bad news. People are finding new ways to break old habits, especially in the past decade. Here are some of the strides made in ocean protection in the past 10 years. There are so many reasons to celebrate during the upcoming World Oceans Day, so find something that encourages you to keep making sustainable choices.
1. Sensors Monitor Fish Communities
Everyone has their own opinion about whether they prefer to eat seafood or not. It depends on your tastes and beliefs, but either way, most people would agree that fish should be taken care of no matter where they are. Fish farming communities and ocean experts agree.
To better understand schools of fish, tech companies created sensors so people can monitor them in real-time. With this new technology, anyone can tell when fish are healthy, sick or need to eat. It makes them more comfortable and prevents disease, especially in areas where they live in high-density environments.
2. Tech Maps Oil Spills
The last time an oil spill became a worldwide news story was when BP contaminated the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Over 100 million gallons spread across the ocean and killed innocent wildlife. On a much smaller scale, oil spills like this one happen 70 times per day around the world, so tech is here to help.
In recent years, companies created oil spill tracking buoys that map currents, detect possible oil leaks and show how they affect the local sea life. At only $140 per unit, they’re affordable for most labs and businesses to protect the oceans around oil rigs.
3. Experts and Residents Track Icebergs
Most people know that climate change melts icebergs, but that information isn’t useful unless technology measures the difference. Experts have teamed up with the general public in the past few years to track and map icebergs and better understand how many are left. Anyone can post pictures of icebergs at specific locations and help add to the tracking data for improved research. The more information experts have on icebergs, the more they’ll understand how to help the most damaged areas in the Arctic and fight the warming climate.
4. Computers Identify Fish
Experts need to catalog fish when they track and assess them. It helps scientists better understand their research and advance the field of oceanography. It’s also how people can better advocate for marine animals, but sometimes this process hurts the fish. It can require taking them out of their environment and causing them stress during the catalog process.
That’s where new technology comes into play. Facial recognition software that was meant for social media over the last decade now helps identify fish. Instead of pulling each fish out of the water, it collects data through cameras that take pictures as they swim by. Those photos and computer logs will chart things like size, temperature and well-being, promoting the growth of sealife sustainably.
5. Companies Produce Edible Six-Pack Rings
For as long as plastic has been around, it’s filled the oceans with more pollution every year. Even though it’s still a widely used material for packing and products, this last decade has shown progress in reducing how many sea creatures die from six-pack rings.
People like to talk about six-pack rings when they discuss the importance of Earth Day because something so small hurts so many animals. Every year, over 100,000 marine mammals die from choking on or ingesting these rings. Now, companies as small as local breweries produce edible six-pack rings meant to feed sea life when they end up in the ocean. It’s an easy modern way to help a problem that’s lasted for decades.
6. People Tackle Ocean Pollution
When someone thinks about ocean pollution, they may imagine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Many people believe it’s a floating island of trash, but the term combines three separate garbage patches in the Pacific Ocean. Wind and currents pull trash into these areas, killing marine animals and ruining underwater environments.
While the popularity of recycling and reducing waste spreads, some people try to clean up the trash by using nets to catch microplastics as well as large items. It will take a long time to collect the 1.8 trillion pieces of garbage, but every day these nets do so is a brighter day for marine life.
7. Farmers Toss Chemical Runoff Products
Chemical pollution has always been a problem for the oceans, but it became a more significant issue when the agricultural industry used more chemical treatments to grow food. It washed into local waterways and ended up in the sea, killing ocean life with toxic pesticides. For the last few years, farmers have become more aware of this issue and begun avoiding these products. Instead, they focus on sustainable agriculture and all-natural fertilizers. As crop nutrition and protection improves, they continue to learn more about technological advancements that make sustainability more attractive than traditional farming methods.
8. Educators Spread News About Corals
Climate change and World Oceans Day are two topics that go hand-in-hand. Rising CO2 levels heat the atmosphere, which ends up warming the oceans as well. The difference in the underwater environment kills large coral reefs, ultimately starving the fish that depend on them.
Besides reducing your carbon footprint, entities as large as government offices teach about protecting coral reefs when divers explore them or swimmers splash nearby. Educating people on the harmful effects of something as simple as sunscreen gives coral reefs a better chance at springing back from the impact of climate change.
Look to the Future on World Oceans Day
Personal changes in your daily life help the planet, but what’s even more exciting is when bigger entities do their part as well. This World Oceans Day, celebrate these achievements that mark huge progress. New technologies, business practices, and public education encourage everyone to do their part and have a lasting impact on the well-being of the planet.
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About the author
Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.