They say travelling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. This couldn’t be truer, especially when you think of all the amazing experiences and adventures you are left with when you come home from a trip. Eating local cuisine, joining fun excursions and trying out new dive spots are all things that make travelling such an incredible experience.
However, as more and more people are becoming aware of the environmental strain of mass tourism, they ask themselves; how can I travel more sustainably? We know that our actions affect our surroundings, and the ocean is one of the major victims. This article covers some simple actions you can take to help maintain the health of the ocean while travelling!
Refuse the straw
This has become a major movement when it comes to the fight against plastic pollution, but it is an important one. Many restaurants, bars and other establishments will automatically give you a straw when you order a drink. Some will even give you two. A simple step you can take when travelling is to #RefuseTheStraw. Simply ask for your drink without a straw, or keep the straw you got with your first drink to use for your second. You could even bring your own reusable straw!
Wondering why? It’s simple. Every single straw every used through the history of time still exists today! It’s a terrifying thought, and most of them actually end up in the ocean. Find out how to cut down on straw use even when you’re at home here!
Wear biodegradable sunscreen
Did you know that your sunscreen can actually endanger and injure aquatic life? Coral, in particular, is affected by the chemicals in your sunscreen, and oxybenzone, which is found in most sunscreens, is proven to be a contributing factor to coral bleaching and disrupts growth and reproduction.
The solution? Make sure to wear biodegradable sunscreen when travelling to sunny destinations. Many Marine Parks and ocean locations now only allow this kind of sunscreen, so you might as well start getting used to it now. Find out more about reef safe sunscreen here.
Educate yourself on local issues and research initiatives
Each destination is different, and each will have their own ways you can help maintain ocean health when travelling. By doing your research in advance, you can find out what the pain points are and how you can easily help.
For example, on my recent trip to Bali I learned that Indonesia is the world’s second largest contributor to plastic pollution after China, a country with a population 5 times bigger. I was lucky enough to learn about and support local organisations such as Bye Bye Plastic Bags and Batu Bali, who work to prevent this and educate the younger generations on the problem with plastic.
Join a clean-up dive
A final, and rather fun way you can help improve ocean health while travelling is to join a clean-up dive! Find out if any of the local dive centers have any upcoming clean-up dives, and you can meet other divers, explore a new dive site, and help improve ocean health at the same time! You can also check Dive against Debris for any upcoming dives and events!