Here at the NOAA Marine Debris Program Earth Day is every day and we always are encouraging others to get involved and support efforts working toward a clean environment and healthy planet. Our oceans are filled with items that do not belong there. Huge amounts of consumer plastics, metals, rubber, paper, textiles, derelict fishing gear, vessels, and other lost or discarded items enter the marine environment every day, making marine debris one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the world’s ocean and waterways.The ultimate solution to the problem lies with every single one of us—preventing marine debris in the first place. First, consider how you might personally contribute to marine debris and follow the “4Rs” whenever possible— Refuse unnecessary single-use items, like plastic straws or cutlery when possible; Reduce the amount of waste you produce by choosing products with less packaging; Reuse items when you can and choose reusable items over disposable ones; and Recycle as much as possible— bottles, cell phones, ink cartridges, and many other items can be recycled. Next, spread the word to others! Tell your family, friends, community, and more about this important issue and what they can do to help. Here are a few easy and effective ways you can choose to reduce your daily impact and make a world of difference:
- Bring a bag. Remember to bring reusable bags to the grocery store or for any other shopping activities to reduce consumption of disposable bags.
- Invest in a reusable water bottle. Acquiring a reusable water bottle would not only greatly reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use, but it would also save you money in the long run! If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, consider using a water filter.
- Bring your own reusable cup. Think about how many disposable cups are used every day in just your local coffee shop. Bringing a mug for your morning coffee can reduce the amount of waste you produce annually. Imagine how much waste we could reduce if we all made this simple daily change!
- Refuse single-use items. Take note on how often you rely on single-use items and choose to replace them with more sustainable versions. Refusing plastic straws and disposable cutlery when you go out and bringing your own containers for leftovers are a few ways you can start today.