Reduce Your Impact

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"Many of us ask what can I, as one person, do, but history shows us that everything good and bad starts because somebody does something or does not do something.”

- Sylvia Earle, SST Patron, Oceanographer 

SST encourages you to learn about the lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your impact on the oceans. Check out the following suggestions:

1.) Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Climate change is deemed one of the defining problems of our generation, and scientists have linked it to sea level rise and ocean acidification. Pollution is now one of the leading causes of death with air pollution not only impacting our oceans but also our children’s health. By choosing to reduce your impact on the environment you can be part of the solution. Switching to energy efficient appliances in your home, clean energy solutions and educating yourself and others about air pollution will enable you to make the responsible choice for future generations. 

2.) Enjoy the Beaches Responsibly

South Africa is lucky to have some of the most beautiful beaches lining its coastline, but unless we commit to taking care of them, they will become avenues for marine pollution. Enjoy the beach while ensuring you are cleaning up after yourself and others. As an environmentally-friendly pet owner ensure you are always picking up after your pet. Help by joining a beach clean-up, or if there aren’t any in your area, start your own!

3.) Enjoy Waterways Responsibly

Oceans, rivers and estuaries provide us with many recreational activities and in return we must do our part to secure their health. All waterways lead to the ocean so all boaters must consider using cleaning and maintenance products that will not harm the water. Switching to a four stroke engine will also reduce the emissions released in the water.

4.) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Human litter has become a significant contributor to marine pollution as our consumer culture grows. Currently 50 - 80% of marine debris is made up of plastic. The resulting break down of plastics leads to choking and/or entanglement of marine animals. You can prevent your contribution to this issue by filling your home with reusable products. When something must be disposed of, ensure you do it in an environmentally friendly way, recycling and reusing when possible. Disposal of hazardous waste should never be down the drain, but rather using a drop-off site. Disposal of electronic waste can be done at many convenient locations including some Pick n Pay stores, please visit http://www.ewasa.org for more information on drop off locations.

5.) Be Water Wise

Ensure the water you allow in and out of your home is impacting our oceans as little as possible. Chemicals like pesticides and household cleaners often find their way to the ocean eventually bringing toxins into marine environments. Eliminate the overuse of fertilisers on your lawn, ensure oils and other products are not washed into sewers, and consider purchasing organic products to limit the use of pesticides globally.

6.) Support Organisations Working to Clean up the Oceans

Support organisations and institutions that are working to protect marine environments. Consider volunteering your time and skills or donating to on-going projects. Check out our Partners page for more information on organisations working to preserve the oceans. To donate to Sustainable Seas Trust click here.

7.) Make Sustainable Seafood Choices

Make wise seafood choice by selecting menu items that have not been caught using unsustainable fishing practices that deplete stocks. Moreover, consider that many fish species with long life spans and a relatively high positions on the food chain are subject to mercury bioaccumulation which presents a health risk for human consumption. As human emissions account for 30% of all mercury contamination, reducing your pollution impact can have positive impacts on your health. Consider eating small, short-lived species to avoid mercury bioaccumulation and learn sustainable species by consulting the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative. Visit http://wwfsassi.co.za for more information.

For more suggestions, check out: (http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/take-action/10-things-you-can-do-to-save-the-ocean/).

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