World Ocean’s Day falls on Monday 8th June this year, and this year more than ever it’s worth celebrating. As we venture out of lockdown and the public beaches here in Dubai welcome us back with open arms (albeit from behind a surgical mask), we need to make sure we are respecting these recently rediscovered gems – those places we have missed so acutely over the last few months, and the freedom to visit them that we took for granted prior to lockdown.
We need to make sure that when we start dipping our toe in the water - literally and figuratively – that we are doing everything we can to respect and protect the beaches and oceans that we love.
On scrolling through Instagram over the weekend, it would appear that the majority of the Dubai population were revelling in being back on the beach or on a boat this weekend – myself included… So it’s World Ocean’s Day is perhaps a very timely reminder to make an effort to preserve that which we hold dear. So, please as we all venture back to the beaches, think about how you can look after them:
1. Take your litter home with you
It’s easy, make sure you have a spare bag with you if you are planning a picnic, so that you leave nothing behind. Don’t let your face mask blow away while you’re in the sea – take care with all your belongings to ensure nothing ends up in the sea, where it could hurt the wildlife.
2. That includes cigarette butts!
The world’s most littered plastic item. If you’re a smoker, don’t leave your cigarette butts lying around – or bury them in the sand… The butts (primarily filters) are not biodegradable, they leach nicotine and heavy metals before turning into micro plastic pollution – one of the major threats for the future of our oceans. I have previously participated in underwater ocean clean up’s with local dive centres, and I can personally testify to the huge amounts of cigarette filters we always found floating around the sea bed, tempting poor unsuspected fish to swallow them at their peril.
3. Invest in organic, biodegradable sunscreen
Think about all of the oils and creams we slather on to keep ourselves safe in the sun. These wash off in the oceans – you can see the oily film left behind on the surface of the sea in your wake. There are a number of organic biodegradable sun screens out there, they may cost a little more, but it’s a small price to pay to protect the oceans that our planet relies on.
The natural environment has thrived whilst humans around the world have been in lockdown, as we emerge back into these familiar places, we should do so consciously and with our eyes open. This time of deprivation from the natural environment has hopefully resulted in us all appreciating and being incredibly grateful for what we have, and not taking it for granted anymore, so let’s not fall back into our old destructive habits, and instead be mindful of everything around us, and the impact we have on it.