Recently, a Filipino ocean microbiologist and an American explorer deep dove into the third-deepest spot on Earth the Phillippines Trench. To their horror, instead of finding ghoulish ocean creatures, they found plastics.
In fact, after a cargo ship caught fire and sunk in the Indian Ocean near Sri Lanka, authorities are mulling the damage that will be caused to the marine ecosystem, including oil spillage and plastic pellets, from the ship.
These are only a few instances from the recent past that highlights how human activities, including the dumping of waste, chemicals, and plastics, are damaging the diverse and rich marine ecosystem.
However, marine biologists, environmentalists, and ocean conservationists, with the help of marine engineers and other experts, are putting in their best effort to create an impact.
They are installing floating trash barriers, waste interceptors, and other technologies that can prevent the trash from entering the sea every day.
Ahead of World Ocean Day, SocialStory identified some of the ocean cleanup projects that are generating awareness about ocean conservation and restoring its biodiversity.
Beach cleanup by Bay of Life
Bay of Life Surf School and Ocean Literacy was started in 2011 by Showkath Jamal. While activities like cleaning beaches and saving marine life, including turtles, have now become popular, Showkath and his team have been doing it for over a decade.
Situated at the Kovalam beach, Chennai, Bay of Life Surf School aims to generate interest in sustainable ocean sportsand activities. While the school comprises a major part of the organisation, it also carries out marine social causes, including beach and ocean clean-ups, through the Bay of Life Foundation.
Some of the major activities of the foundation include beach trash analysis, beach cleanup, andfree surf lessonsfor people who clean upfive kilos of trashfrom the beach. The team has removed over 24,000 kg of wastes from the ocean and the beaches.
Founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat an inventor-entrepreneur The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit based in The Netherlands.
The non-profit has been developing technology, similar to floating trash barriers, to extractplastic from the oceans and intercept it in rivers before it can reach it. It also conducts ocean-specific scientific research to understand the levels of plastic pollution in these water bodies.
In 2019, the organisation announced a new initiative called the Interceptor, which tackles this pollution problem closer to the source, preventing about 80 percent of the trash from rivers from entering the ocean.
US-based Oceana is a non-profit organisation founded in 2001 by a group of leading companies, including the Rockefeller Foundation, focusing on ocean conservation.
Oceana does this by influencing specific policy on the national levels to restore the worlds oceans by conducting research and providing policy recommendations.
The organisation has also taken over other organisations like The Ocean Law Project by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Oceans Campaign by actor and environmentalist Ted Danson.
Some of the notable victories of its impactful projects include the rescue of the dusky sharks, creating a marine national park in Spain the second-largest in the country.
The High Seas Alliance (HSA) is a coalition of over 40 NGOs and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It aims to focus on conserving the High Seas. High Seas is an open ocean that isnt governed by any country.
The team works together and engages the public, the experts, and the decision-makers to support and strengthen the governance of the high seas.
Even though there are no binding terms and rules for the establishment of protected areas in the high seas, these regions are severely impacted by pollution.
The HSA works to create awareness about the same while also ensuring that effective conservation measures are taken to address these ocean conservation gaps.
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