1. Don’t throw heavy metals down the drain.
Learn which things in your home contain heavy metals, e.g. household paints. These should only be disposed of at your local hazardous waste depot. They should NEVER be poured down the drain.
2. How safe is your household cleaner?
Many common household cleaners, toiletries, and soaps are made from very toxic stuff that is harmful to the oceans. Replace them with eco-friendly, non-toxic brands. Use vinegar, baking soda or microfiber cloths to clean the house and the car. Any toxic household product should be disposed of at a hazardous waste depot and NEVER discarded in the trash.
3. Plastic is filling the oceans
The ocean is awash with non-biodegradable plastic debris, some of it so finely-ground that it is digested by microscopic plankton, the basis of the oceanic food chain. Keep plastic out of the ocean by reducing the amount of plastic you use. Avoid plastic bags by using reusable shopping bags. Refill plastic water bottles. Recycle plastic, or dispose of it with care. Biodegradable plastic products made from corn, food starch, and sugar cane are now available. Seek them out, or buy them at www.simplybiodegradable.com or www.earthshell.com.
4. Think about how your food is produced.
Run-off from modern conventional agricultural practices is one of the major contributors to the amount of EDCs (endocrine disrupting compounds) in the ocean. By supporting organic farming and buying organic food you will keep the oceans healthy, and decrease the poisons in you and your children. Support locally-grown food by shopping at local farmers’ markets.
5. A healthy lawn and garden?
Chemically-based pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are toxic to life in the oceans, and seafood feeds them back to us. Use an organic fertilizer, or one that releases its nitrogen slowly. Choose native plants that don’t need so much care. Compost your vegetable food waste and make the garden healthy that way. When you mow the lawn, leave the clippings behind. They will serve as a natural fertilizer. Try using a less-toxic insecticidal soap as a pesticide before opening up the toxic one. If you have to resort to chemicals, use them sparingly and strictly according to the instructions.
6. Be careful what you flush down the toilet.
Only human wastes and food should be flushed down the toilet. Do not use harsh chemicals or poisons to clean the toilet as they will kill the useful bacteria which process and purify water in sewage systems.
7. Recycle used motor oil.
Oil is a major pollutant in the ocean. Don’t let excess oil or anti-freeze spill on the ground, as rain will wash it into the storm-water drains, and from there out to sea. Be sure to recycle used motor oil at your local gas station, auto parts store or where you get your oil changed. NEVER pour it down the drain.
8. Support or volunteer for the oceans.
Find a local, small, non-profit organization working to save the oceans and ocean life, and get involved. That way you will learn more about the problems the ocean faces, and can become a more effective part of the solution.
9. Educate yourself.
Pollution in the oceans comes from many sources, especially industry. The burning of coal releases mercury, a neurotoxin that is found in heavy concentrations in tuna and swordfish. Dioxins from paper bleaching and agriculture are affecting hormone systems. We all need to learn more about how the way we live is affecting the world we live in, and begin to pressure our government to invest in alternative energy sources and green industrial practices.
10. Become active.
We all cause marine pollution and only if all of us work together can we stop it. We must become more thoughtful about how we consume energy, materials, and water, and how we handle our wastes. We must take seriously the phrase: reduce, reuse, recycle. We must let our representatives know that we are care about how ocean pollution is affecting the fish that we eat, the animals we love, and our families. Above all, we must exercise our democratic right to vote, to ensure that our leaders take the steps necessary to stop the wholesale pollution of the oceans.