Ten Things You Can Do to Help the Ocean

1) Learn all you can.
Did you know state and local governments issue seafood contamination warnings and beach closure warnings? Read labels and signs and ask questions. By learning why a beach was closed or why certain seafood is contaminated, you may also learn how to prevent it from happening again. Learn more about the ocean and conservation by reading, watching films, attending lectures, or visiting aquariums and museums.

2) Be a smart shopper.
The seafood choices that we make have an impact on the environment. Not all seafood is created equal. There are good - and - bad choices for the ocean. Good choices from wild fish come from populations that are healthy and managed in a way to preserve the populations for future generations. Likewise, sustainable fish farming respects the surrounding environment, uses water and other resources wisely, and does not interfere with natural, wild fish populations. Ask grocery stores and restaurants where their seafood comes from and if it was caught or farmed in a way that protects the ocean.
For more information, see http://www.seafoodchoices.com/

3) Conserve water.
Use low-flow showerheads and faucets. Don't run water continuously when washing dishes by hand, brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face, or washing your car. Wash only full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine. Take short showers. Check for leaky faucets and repair them. Water your lawn in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation, and water it only when necessary. Put a trigger nozzle on your outdoor hose; it uses water more efficiently. It's not necessary to water your driveway. After all, it won't grow.

4) Reduce "household pollution."
The less herbicides and pesticides you spray, the less you will swim in! Use lawn clippings, compost, or manure to fertilize your lawn and garden. Use phosphate-free laundry and dishwasher detergent because phosphates in lakes and rivers can encourage algae growth, which can suffocate aquatic life. Try non-toxic products, such as baking soda or vinegar, instead of hazardous chemicals for cleaning.

5) Reduce run-off.
Put trash in the can instead of the gutter. Use soap sparingly when washing your car. If you must use chemicals on your lawn, don't spray on a windy day or when rain is expected. To improve drainage and decrease run-off, avoid landscaping with hard surfaces and instead select vegetation, gravel or other porous material. Sweep your driveway and sidewalk to collect any toxic materials that could be washed into waterways and properly dispose of the waste. Redirect rain gutters onto your lawn or into collection barrels to water your garden. Scoop pet waste. An estimated 15 tons of pet waste flows into ocean waters every day.

6) Recycle or dispose of all trash properly.
Never flush non-degradable products, such as disposable diapers or plastic tampon applications, down the toilet. These products can damage the sewage treatment process and end up littering beaches and waters. Never throw cigarette butts on the ground or out car windows. Pick up litter and avoid using disposable products if at all possible.

7) Reduce oil pollution.
Fix car leaks! More oil enters the ocean from large tanker spills. Recycle used motor oil. Much of the oil pollution in surface waters is caused by people dumping used oil into storm drains. Buy a fuel-efficient car. Even better, drive less! Walk, bicycle, carpool or take public transportation. Check underground heating oil tanks for leaks.

8) Be considerate of ocean wildlife.
Never dispose of fishing line or nets in the water. They could entangle, maim, injure or kill unsuspecting animals. Don't release helium balloons outside. They could end up in the ocean and harm animals that mistake them for food. Minimize your use of Styrofoam, which degrades into smaller pellets that also resemble food. Cut open plastic six-pack rings; they can entangle ocean life.

9) Get involved.
Take part in a beach cleanup. Report illegal dumping to the local authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency or the Coast Guard. Report full catch-basins; your local department of public works should clean clogged storm sewers. Contact your local government to learn the proper methods of disposal for batteries, paint, appliances and other products. Encourage your local government to recycle and upgrade sewage treatment systems. Urge public officials to support measures that help the ocean.


10) Understand Why...