Seas and oceans are at great risk of pollution, due to harmful human lifestyles and the industry that is the largest environmental polluter in the world and the causative agent of the climate crisis. But each of us can contribute to the recovery of the sea and preserve it with small changes. We propose a few simple steps to help preserve the marine ecosystem.
1. Reduce the use of plastics
A huge amount of plastic from land ends up in the sea and oceans. Take a walk along the beaches on our coast after the southeastern wind and you will see how much waste, predominantly the plastic one, has been washed ashore by the sea. Scientists predict that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea, so today we should start thinking about our future. In order to encourage citizens to reduce plastic in everyday life through the project For Plastic-Free Croatian Islands, the Association Sunce is conducting a campaign Together Without Plastics. With the campaign, we encourage changing lifestyle habits and using alternatives to single-use plastics. We are aware that not all plastic has an alternative, so before buying a plastic product, always think about whether we need everything we buy. After use, always wash the packaging and separate the different components and place it in containers for collection of plastics, thus enabling its adequate disposal and recycling. Before disposing of plastic in containers, consult your utility company on what is collected and how, and you can also get help separating different categories of waste on the website Razvrstaj.me.
2. Keep the beaches clean
Residents of the coastal area can testify that land-based litter that ends up in the sea, is again, with the help of sea currents, returned to land. Beaches that are cluttered with waste will not be cleaned by nature alone. Get active and clean your environment, although you may not have been the one who contaminated it. For a successful clean-up, it is not enough just to clean the beach, but it is also necessary to monitor the type of litter and its location in order to help discover the source of the litter that reaches the sea.
If you want to independently organize the action of cleaning of the coastal area, the Association Sunce has created a draft Protocol for Organizing Clean-up Actions in the Marine Environment and Coastal area on the Territory of the Republic of Croatia, the Collection and Processing of Data of Marine Litter, which can help you in this. This Protocol is intended for natural and legal persons and public authorities who intend to carry out actions to clean litter from the sea utilizing underwater cleaning operations like diving, actions to clean the seabed by trawling and beach cleaning actions. If you do not organize actions, then join them through volunteering. When visiting the beach, be sure to clean up before you leave. The seas, oceans and all the wildlife in them will be grateful to you.
With the aim of protecting and preserving the Adriatic Sea, the Association Sunce and a number of partners will organize an environmentally responsible Cleaning Sailing Race regatta in April. The partners involved will collect and list the waste according to the Protocol. After monitoring, the waste will be properly disposed of by the competent utility company in cooperation with the local community.
3. Ecological anchoring and preservation of Posidonia
We are sure that at least once, when walking along the beach, you have noticed piles of dead seagrass that was washed ashore. This very plant, Posidonia oceanica, known also as lažina, voga, purola or purlić in Croatian, is an endemic species of the Mediterranean Sea. Its meadows are an oxygen factory, so we call them the lungs of the sea. It is estimated that 1 square meter of Posidonia produces as much as 14 liters of oxygen per day. In addition, the meadows of this sea plant are habitats, hatcheries, breeding and feeding grounds for more than 100 species of fish, most of which have economic significance. Its antibacterial properties contribute to the health of the marine environment, which is also important for us swimmers. However, Posidonia is under increasing negative pressure. The greatest threat to the survival of Posidonia is the free anchoring that tears the plant and destroys its meadows, and one of the conditions of preservation of this plant is ecological anchoring. As part of the SASPAS project, a total of 40 environmentally friendly anchorages have been installed within the National Park Kornati in the bays: Kravljačica, Strižnja, Šipnate and Tomasovac – Suha punta. In each of these bays there are 10 anchor places for vessels up to 16 meters in length. Therefore, if possible, always choose a more environmentally friendly alternative when anchoring.
4. Reduce air pollution
Ocean acidification is a process that occurs due to an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the oceans, which leads to a lowering of the pH value. If the trend of increasing CO2 continues, there will be a serious disturbance of the marine ecosystem, which could lead to the disappearance of coral reefs and other species that play an important role in the food chain. All this can irreversibly change the marine environment and cause dramatic consequences for humanity. Man, as one of the modifiers of the environment, must become aware of how harmful its action can be to nature. When compared to the emissions of harmful gases coming out of factories, the influence of an individual on emissions may seem negligible, but each of us can contribute and reduce our carbon footprint in the atmosphere by changing our lifestyle habits. For starters, use a bicycle instead of driving a car. You will save money and introduce a new healthy habit, and the emissions you produce will decrease. Besides, the feeling of personal satisfaction because you’re doing something good for the environment is priceless.
5. Support organizations working to protect the sea
Recent research has shown that Croatia has witnessed the strongest increase in environmental care in Central Europe. This data tells us that we have become aware of how important environmental protection is to us for the future. We can reduce marine pollution and protect the sea from future pollution only by joint efforts. So get involved, become a member, volunteer or support the work of organizations dealing with the protection of the sea and the environment with a donation.