Hanna Schlegel, Online Communication
When we travel to the seaside or on the ocean during holidays, we can contribute to their protection. Find a range of practical tips below to reduce your environmental footprint – wildlife and nature say thank you.
About nine million tons of plastic waste enter the oceans every year. You can do your part in reducing this burden to the marine ecosystem:
About 80% of the plastic waste comes from the mainland and is carried into the sea by rivers, sewers and wind. Plastic kills hundreds of thousands of dolphins, whales, seals and turtles, and millions of seabirds. The animals starve to death with their stomachs full of plastic or drown miserably when they get entangled in plastic items. Help prevent this:
The wealth of fish in shops and restaurants is deceptive. Almost everywhere, fish catches outweigh fish reproduction. Fish from aquaculture is no solution, either. As consumers and tourists, we can contribute to sparing marine wildlife:
Every year, thousands of tons of sun cream enter the oceans. Many of these lotions contain chemicals that destroy coral reefs already at low concentrations. There are two main types of sunscreens: physical (inorganic, mineral), which stay on the surface of the skin and mainly deflect the UV radiation, or chemical (organic), which defuses the harmful UV light by absorbing it. The most problematic chemicals are octinoxate and oxybenzone, which have now been banned in Hawaii. Adding to this, many sun creams contain micro or nano plastic particles.
On their holidays, many people have the desire to get in direct contact with wild animals. Dolphins have been ascribed a wrong image of cuddly animals, who want to be near us and play. This incites more and more people to want to touch them and swim with them, disregarding the effects on these highly sensible animals, like disturbance and massive stress.
Wild animals generally don’t want to be in a spotlight. They need their distance and calm. Direct interactions with humans can severely disturb them.
Many tourists want to take home some souvenirs. But be careful: These decorative items (including wooden objects) were often hurtfully ripped out of nature. Please also keep in mind that the import in checked or unchecked baggage of, for example, whale products violates both national and international law and may entail criminal prosecution in the EU, the USA and other states.
For travelling, choose the train wherever possible. The most harmful means of transport are cruise ship which run on cheap heavy crude oil – the worst fuel in terms of emissions. Further, noise from ships interferes with the orientation of marine animals. However, travelling almost always entails a certain CO2 footprint. You can contribute to climate protection by compensating unavoidable emissions.
Foto: shutterstock/F8 studio, shutterstock/New Africa, OceanCare