Trash has become the ocean’s problem. It’s also become an ocean of a problem. From how we dispose of plastics to even how we wash our clothes, humans continue to pollute the oceans in immeasurable ways and quantities.
And it’s no secret that marine debris is a threat to ecosystems and human life around the globe. Thanks to the internet and technological advances, the problem is clearer than ever before. But thanks to ocean scientists, educators and protectors, so is the solution.
In this post, we’ll cover five different organizations working to be part of the solution. They’re using a variety of methods, from education to product development, to remove and reduce the amount of trash in the oceans. Check out their work and find out how their impactful solutions are tackling this ocean-sized problem.
The Cora Ball: Catching Microfibers from Our Clothing
The commercial fishing industry is one of the biggest ocean polluters. Eight years ago, Rachael Z. Miller decided to do something about it. She founded the Rozalia Project (named after her great-grandmother) with the goal of protecting and cleaning the ocean of fishing debris. Now, with years of experience and knowledge about ocean pollutants, she is thinking smaller. Her concept, The Cora Ball, is attempting to reduce the number of microfibers, tiny threads that are used to make clothing, that enter the ocean.
Everyone that washes their clothes is contributing to the number of microfibers in the oceans, and every living organism may suffer the consequences. That’s why the Cora Ball was invented. By simply tossing it in a load of wash, it will help reduce the number of microfibers in the ocean.
“Many people don’t identify themselves as part of the problem. They recycle and try not to waste. But everyone washes clothes. Treatment plants and septic tanks don’t catch all microfibers, and while we don’t know the full scope of the issue, we’re not waiting around to find out how it impacts the marine food web and human health.”
Rachael Z. Miller | Rozalia Project
As scientists learn more about the adverse effects of microfibers, the Cora Ball is an innovative first step in eliminating them from the ocean. You can learn more about the project and support it on Kickstarter.
See Turtles: Protecting Endangered Sea Turtles
Six of the seven species of sea turtle are classified as endangered. With poaching, habitat destruction and overexploitation all threatening these unique creatures, SEE Turtles launched in 2008. It was the world’s first effort to protect sea turtles through ecotourism. These unique tours allow guests to meet local conservationists, get an up-close look at the turtles and directly contribute to saving them.
To date, the tours have saved over 80,000 hatchlings with each tour saving over 100. SEE Turtles also allows people to donate to their cause with each dollar raised helping to save at least one hatchling. Find out more about their Billion Baby Turtles project.
Balloons Blow: Educating on the Effects of Balloons
Balloons may seem harmless on the surface. Yet, released balloons travel thousands of miles, many of which end up littering the oceans. Balloons Blow is a nonprofit aiming to educate and inform the masses about this problem. By teaching people about the long-term effects of balloons and providing alternatives, they reduce the number of balloons getting into waterways and being consumed by wildlife.
With over 50,000 likes on Facebook, Balloons Blow’s message is clearly being received. You can follow the page for success stories, updates on the balloon industry and find out ways you can get involved in reducing the impact of balloons.
Sea Angels: Sustainably Cleaning the Oceans
There are people all over the globe volunteering their time to clean up their local beaches. Thousands of those people are a part of The Sea Angels in Ocean Ridge, FL. Their monthly “green” cleanups take place every last Saturday of the month. They use reusable buckets, grabbers and gloves so they aren’t contributing more litter to landfills.
The Sea Angels also try to provide education regarding the impact litter has on beaches and oceans. They give advice, like the quote below from founder Robyn Halasz, on how to carry on a sustainable lifestyle.
“Use only reusable items when heading to the beach such as reusable bags and cups. This will cause less litter and less of a chance for things being left behind. Also help clean the beach either on your own or by joining a group. If everyone helped by picking up a few pieces of litter every time they went to the beach it would make a big impact.”
Robyn Halasz | Sea Angels
Boomerang Bags: Replacing Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are one of the most common pieces of ocean debris. While their single-use nature and the sheer volume of bags used every day may seem like a tough problem to solve, the solution is actually quite simple – BYOB. That’s bring your own bag. The success of Boomerang Bags is proof this can work. They’ve partnered with organizations around the globe including Plastic Ocean Project. Their partnership is bringing the Australian nonprofit’s bag concept to Wilmington, NC. Talk about a worldly solution.
The idea of Boomerang Bags is to recycle discarded textiles and turn them into reusable bags. Those bags can then be distributed at local grocery stores or to friends and family. And any community can become a Boomerang Bag community. It’s as simple as forming a group of volunteers to make bags for the community as whole. Check out their website to learn more about the Boomerang Bags process.
Are You Cleaning the Ocean?
Are you a part of an organization or business that’s helping clean the ocean? Well, that’s awesome. We’d love to hear from you. Drop a comment below and we may incorporate your work in an upcoming post. Also, check out some of our other ocean-related stories like our Nonprofit Ocean Cleanup feature and last year’s World Oceans Day spotlight.