Organizations diving to save ocean, marine life from plastic waste

Photo credit: Taylor Berry | Seabird flying overFort Lauderdale Beach

By Taylor Berry

Organizations all around the world have been fighting the problem of ocean pollution caused by humans. Although they are not able to collect all the waste from every inch of the ocean, that does not stop these organizations from getting the job done.

According to Conservation International, about 17.6 billion pounds of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year –– the equivalent of 57,000 blue whales –– killing about 100,000 marine mammals (sea lions, dolphins, seals and whales), and between 700,000 and 1 million seabirds because of indigestion and entanglement.

Erica Bishop is the program coordinator for the Blue Verve Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating ocean pollution. She talked about the organization and how they aim to accomplish the organization’s “mission.”

“We execute our mission in three main ways: reducing the amount of plastic that is produced and consumed through education, awareness and advocacy campaigns; better management for the plastic waste already in circulation to ensure that it doesn’t end up in the environment and cleaning up the plastic that’s already out there with volunteer cleanups,” Bishop said. “Although there’s way more plastic out there than we can gather from creeks and beaches, cleanups are also a great tool to get people involved in a hands-on way to care about the issue.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is a well-known, international, non-governmental-funded organization committed to not only raising awareness about endangered wildlife, but also to protecting wildlife on land and in the ocean.

Jasmine Sjöberg Sidibe is an international model who volunteered with WWF to learn how to protect oceans internationally and help collect plastic material from the ocean in Malaysia, and was heartbroken to see the damage caused by humans.

“We did pick up plastic in the ocean and on the beaches,” Sidibe said. “We did scuba dive in a marine- protected area to rediscover the beauty we have to protect and see how a healthy marine should look. The waste was all over the ocean and it broke my heart to see what humankind has done. We all need to take responsibility and say no to plastic! I love the ocean.”

While many organizations are physically collecting plastic on beaches or diving deep into the ocean to clear plastic from the ocean floor, some people are using their businesses to protect marine life through their products.

Jeri Devereaux, the chief operating officer of Impact Veganics, a vegan deodorant company, talked about how the company’s products protect animals and the environment.

“We have the only cruelty-free, handmade with organic, clean ingredients, plastic-free that comes in a 100% biodegradable, fully compostable container and shipping package,” Devereaux said. “Even our inks are plant-based and biodegradable.  We moved in this direction because we cannot see creating products that contribute to poor health in humans, abuse and commodification in animals nor further desecration of our earth. So we knew any and all of our products had to be fully biodegradable and literally leave no trace.”

To help keep oceans clear from plastic and save marine wildlife, joining an organization that focuses on marine debris or shopping at businesses with eco-friendly products (including the packaging) can help ensure the safety and beauty of beaches and sea animals.

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