In observation of Earth Day on Friday, April 22 <a href="" target="_blank"></a> offers some helpful tips to decrease use of plastics. Photo: Unsplash

In observation of Earth Day on Friday, April 22 offers some helpful tips to decrease use of plastics. Photo: Unsplash

Expert tips for World Earth Day

People in Greater Trail have a direct link to the Pacific Ocean by way of the Columbia River

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In support of World Earth Day 2022 on Friday, April 22, have supplied nine simple and easy lifestyle changes to help stop ocean pollution.

People in Greater Trail have a direct link to the Pacific Ocean by way of the Columbia River, which starts in B.C.’s Columbia Lake and flows 2,000 km through Washington State and into the ocean near Astoria, Oregon.

This is poignant considering there are approximately 50 to 75 trillion pieces of plastic and microplastics currently in the ocean.

With eight-million pieces of plastic thought to enter the ocean every single day, in just 30 years it is believed that fish in the ocean will be outnumbered by pieces of plastic.

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1. Stop Buying Single-Use Plastic: Using fewer single-use plastic items is one of the most significant changes that you can make to reduce ocean pollution. One way to do this is to reuse water bottles. Fill them up from the tap. However, if you do purchase water, buy gallons or larger containers instead of smaller bottles. Better yet, consider using refillable 5-gallon water dispensers.

You can make other small changes by using metal utensils instead of plastic ones, bring your own shopping bags, pack lunches in reusable containers instead of plastic baggies, switch to a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one, and wax your body hair instead of shaving it – disposable razors are not recyclable.

2. Skip the Straw: Plastic straws are just as problematic as plastic bottles. They also pose a threat to marine animals. If you do have to use a straw, you can purchase a reusable one that’s made of stainless steel or silicone.

3. Be Careful When Using Chemicals on Your Lawn: Have you ever noticed that the area on the street near your home is stained orange? That’s from the iron in the fertiliser that runs off of your lawn. The grass can’t soak up all of the chemicals, and the excess pollutants flow into the sewer and drainage systems.

When these chemicals build up in waterways, they cause algae blooms. Sometimes, those algae blooms make it impossible to pass through the waterways. As the algae die off, they use up the existing oxygen in the water to decompose.

This limits the amount of usable oxygen that sea life needs to survive. Aquatic species relocate to other areas, and the oxygen-depleted regions become known as dead zones.

Fish also absorb the chemicals. If humans or other animals eat these fish, they’ll ingest the toxins too.

4. Eat Organic: If you eat organic foods, you support practices that minimise ocean pollution. Organic items are grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. Organic soil also holds onto carbon dioxide, keeping it out of the waterways. This reduces the problem of ocean acidification.

Eating organic can help coral reefs thrive by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that makes its way into the oceans.

5. Nix the Littering Problem: Picking up after yourself is one thing. You can also help others do the same.

If you go to the beach with friends, make sure that everyone carries out their trash. Bring a bag with you when you head outside so that you can collect and discard pieces of trash that you find.

Join or organise a clean-up in your community. Schools and other organisations can band together to help keep the beach and green spaces in your town litter-free.

6. Flush Appropriately: Pretty much the only thing that should go down the toilet is toilet paper. If you’re flushing anything else, you could be harming the ocean. Some products that you’re not supposed to flush include: wet wipes, tissues and paper towels, menstrual products, cotton balls, and dental floss.

7. Don’t Flick Your Butts: If you smoke cigarettes, dispose of the butts properly. That means that you should toss them in the trash. Cigarette filters are made mostly of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic. They can take more than ten years to decompose.

8. Switch to Natural Cleaners: Many household cleaners contribute to pollution. When you dispose of them improperly, such as by pouring them down the drain, you increase the risk that they’ll end up in our waterways. Even just mopping your floor with a chemical solution and rinsing it in the sink can exacerbate the ocean pollution problem.

Try using natural alternatives to chemical cleaners including using a plunger or plumber’s snake instead of drain cleaner, vinegar to clean glass and other hard surfaces in your home, mix a teaspoon of lemon juice with a pint of vegetable oil to polish furniture, baking soda as a rug deodoriser, and use cedar chips, rosemary, lavender, or essential oil instead of mothballs.

9. Conserve Water: Sewage treatment plants can become overwhelmed when they’re inundated with excess water. When communities use too much water at once, pollutants can make it through the processing system and end up in the oceans.

Use less water at home by taking shorter showers, collect the cold water as you wait for the shower to warm up and use it to water plants, put sprinklers and irrigation systems on timers, run the washing machine and dishwasher when they’re full, and turn off the sink while you brush your teeth.

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