10 things you can do to help the ocean

In the UK, you’re never more than 70 miles from the coast – but even if you can’t make it to the seaside, there are still lots of small, easy things to do to help our amazing UK marine life. 

1. Say no to single use: bags, bottles and coffee cups

Equipping yourself with a canvas bag, refillable water bottle and reusable coffee cup is the biggest and easiest way to take action for our seas. Why not start today? Visit https://www.facebook.com/refillcornwall/

2. No Straw, thanks

Do you really need a straw with your soft drink? They’ll never decompose and are often found in the stomachs of turtles and seabirds. If you can’t live without a straw, you can buy reusable metal straws that will last a lifetime (as well as reusable cutlery so you can say no to those plastic forks too!).

3. Ban the microbead

Microbeads are tiny plastic beads (less than 5mm in size) used in toiletries and cosmetics such as face scrubs and toothpastes. They wash down the drain into rivers and ultimately the sea – where they are ingested by plankton, crustaceans and even the fish that ends up on our plates. Check the ingredients list for Polyethylene and Polypropylene and avoid!

4. Choose Phosphate-free detergent

This is less harmful to aquatic life as it doesn’t encourage algal blooms in lakes, rivers or the sea. From washing up liquid to laundry detergent, a small change can make a big difference!

5. No more Balloon or Sky Lantern releases

What goes up must come down! Although releasing balloons or Sky Lanterns can be beautiful, the damage they wreak is anything but. A turtle stranded on Blackpool beach died from eating a blue balloon and countless owls, foxes, lambs and cattle have been killed in the UK by sky lanterns (or their fragments).

6. Only flush the 3Ps

Only pee, poo and paper should go down the loo. Everything else, wet wipes, cotton buds or sanitary ware, goes in the bin; as well as oil, fat and grease from cooking. Don’t be caught out by “flushable” wipes – these clogs drains and are being found on our beaches in ever increasing numbers. 

7. Check for misconnections

This is where a wastewater pipe is wrongly connected, leading to a surface water drain and straight into a watercourse. This is often from new extensions or newly fitted appliances which should be connected to the foul water drain. See www.connectright.org.uk for more information. 

8. Do a 2 minute beach clean (or street clean) 

Marine litter injures, entangles or kills over 100 million animals per year. As well as reducing your plastic consumption and ensuring any you do use is properly recycled, why not help tackle the problem of litter on our beaches? The 2 minute beach clean movement is simple: just take 2 minutes to collect up as much marine litter as you can carry and dispose of it properly – recycling what you can. Share your spoils with @2minbeachclean on Twitter or Instagram.

9. Become a Friend of MCZs!

Join our campaign to get Marine Conservation Zones designated around our coasts to protect the amazing species that live there. We’re working hard behind the scenes, but we can’t do it without you – sign up today at www.wildlifetrusts.org/mczfriends (it’s free) or consider joining your local Wildlife Trust.

10. Choose sustainable fish

Making sustainable fish choices is one the biggest ways you can help our seas: where possible choose fish that is locally caught, in season and has been caught using non-damaging methods. Popular choices to be aware of, aim for: diver-caught scallops and tuna fish caught by pole and line. Learn more at www.cornwallgoodseafoodguide.org.uk .

Every summer, Wildlife Trusts across the UK join together to celebrate the amazing marine wildlife found all around the coasts of the UK. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events that you can get involved in.