World Ocean Day
Every year, the United Nations marks World Ocean Day on June 8th. It's an opportunity to celebrate the importance of the ocean - and to better understand how to interact with it in a sustainable manner. The ocean is critical to the survival of the planet and all its inhabitants. The National Ocean Service states that the ocean produces over half of the world's oxygen and stores 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere. Since the ocean covers 70% of the Earth's surface, it is crucial to the regulation of our climate and weather patterns, transporting heat from the equator to the poles.
People are polluting our ocean - destroying countless ecosystems and wildlife in the process. In 2010, there was approximately 2.5 billion metric tons of solid waste produced by 192 countries bordering the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans - as well as the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Plastic waste accounted for 275 million metric tons. The worst number yet: 8 million metric tons of plastic go into the ocean EVERY year. It's everywhere - the more we look, the more we find. Accumulated plastic on ocean surfaces and beaches has become a global crisis. It's found everywhere, from the office to the grocery store, from the kitchen to the bathrooms. Plastic is inexpensive and easy to manufacture, but most of the plastic we consume is used once and discarded. Just 9% of all plastic created is ever recycled, while 12% is incinerated. The rest – 79% – is sent to landfills, or what’s increasingly common, it ends up in the environment, in our rivers and lakes, beaches, and oceans. Ocean Conservancy estimates that by 2025 there will be one pound of plastic for every three pounds of fish in the ocean. There's expected to be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
So how does all this trash end up in our oceans? In Florida, the greatest source of water pollution is stormwater. This condition originates from rainwater after it hits the ground. Stormwater runoff picks up waste and debris as it flows across the roads and land, carrying pollutants into our waterways. This is why it's important to dispose of trash and waste properly so that it doesn’t become polluted stormwater runoff.
We love where we live. A place where dolphins play, manatees graze, and rays surf the waters edge. Living in paradise comes with the added responsibility to protect our waters. What better way to celebrate the Ocean than by picking up trash BEFORE it reaches are waters!
We're holding a cleanup in downtown New Port Richey from 4 pm to 6 pm on June 8th. The meeting location is Ordinance One, located at 5738 Main Street in New Port Richey. We will supply disposable gloves, trash bags, and litter grabbers. All you need to bring is sunscreen and the willingness to sweat a bit for our planet's benefit. We do ask that you register so that we have enough supplies for everyone.
Even if you can't do the cleanup please stop by Ordinance One from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Thanks to local artists we will have ocean themed art that you will definitely want to check out, a happy hour special just in case you needed an excuse to drink some delicious beer, and Keep Pasco Beautiful sustainable give aways.