Why protecting the seas around the UK is vital for our future
The seas surrounding the UK play a crucial part in life for both the nation and overseas. From deep water coral to seals and sea fans, the UK’s waters are truly breath-taking. As well as its stunning marine life, it also supports the economy through trade, tourism, and renewable energy.
However, the environment is under threat from climate change, pollution, and over-fishing. It is vital that we as a nation can protect these waters and remain committed to delivering a successful future for generations to come.
How can we help protect our seas? The answer isn’t easy or straightforward, but it is urgent that we act and take immediate response to conserve these waters and ultimately, protect our future.
Find ways to reduce your water consumption
Nowadays, a lot of people are conscious of water consumption and how it can protect our seas. We turn the tap off when brushing our teeth, take shorter showers and avoid over-washing. Yet, most people have items that use up more than 900 days of drinking water and do not even know it. Believe it or not, they are located in our wardrobes. In order to operate, the fashion industry contributes a significant amount of water consumption and is an enormous polluter for waterways. An estimated 20% of global wastewater is caused by dyeing and processing products for the fashion industry. Purchasing fashion products that last long and do not follow "fast fashion" behaviours can help minimise water consumption.
Use less single-use plastic
We have detailed previously why plastic is bad for the ocean. Plastic in the seas contributes significantly to the destruction of habitat and killing of marine life. According to the BBC, in 2020 alone almost 99% of litter pickups found drinks containers, bottles and lids. You can limit your impact by reusing containers and avoiding single-use plastics. Transitioning plastic out of your lifestyle can additionally make an impact, such as removing the use of single use plastic within your household.
Eat sustainably sourced fish
Fish populations are rapidly diminishing due to increased demand, overfishing and loss of habitat. It has been estimated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation that over 70% of the world’s fish populations are either fully exploited or depleted. When consuming seafood, it's important to make safe and sustainable decisions. By limiting the consumption of seafood, you can help make a difference to the high levels of demand for this food. When purchasing seafood, it is recommended to check the labels for appropriate seals and certifications as well as locally sourced fish.
Clean up your rubbish!
Taking care of coastal regions if you happen to live nearby or visit the beach is another fantastic way in which you can contribute to protecting the seas. Picking up litter through seaside clean-ups and reporting any negative effects on flora and fauna to local authorities are preventive measures in helping marine life. It’s estimated that 6.4 million tonnes of litter enter the sea annually, so grab yourself a bag and get cleaning! You’ll be surprised at how much you can pick up in just 30 minutes.
Support research and awareness campaigns
Signing petitions and researching ocean policy are great ways in protecting the marine environment. Everyone has a role to play and voting can have a remarkable influence on future policies and laws. This year’s World Ocean Day was a landmark one for the protection of our seas as minister's pledged to protect 30% of the waters around the UK within three years. Now is the time more than ever to ensure that the government are effectively maintaining and protecting UK seas. Additionally, putting the people that carefully use the sea at the heart of management and giving them the opportunity to influence how their seas are safely managed is vital.
There is no time to waste protecting the UK’s seas. Human-caused climate change is threatening the ocean’s ability to sustain itself and we are facing potentially catastrophic consequences if we don’t protect it. It is time for all groups in society to come together and drive momentum for change. You can always help fight for the conservation of the seas by donating to charities through the Toucan app. Together we can make a difference and help protect our seas.