Environment Opinion Science

Who’s cleansing our oceans?

Even as the world’s oceans suffer clear and present danger from human activity, a band of organisations are committed to stop and reverse the destruction.

The biggest threats to the world’s oceans come from human activities. Upwards of 80% of marine pollution and the harm it causes, is directly caused through discharging industrial pollutants and sewage into the sea, dumping rubbish and plastic, overfishing and global warming.

How our oceans went into Intensive Care

Global warming is causing sea-levels to rise and endangering low-lying coastal areas and island nations, agricultural pesticides and harmful chemicals are depleting oxygen levels in the sea and killing marine plants and shellfish, oil spills and oil from sewage treatment plants is affecting dozens of marine mammal species like penguins and seals, and increased consumption is pushing the number of some species to dangerously low levels. Plastic waste alone is responsible for killing 100,000 marine creatures and a million sea birds each year.

The consequences are evident now more than ever. Adverse and unpredictable weather patterns, depleting fish stocks, largescale destruction of coral reefs and the marine habitats and species they support, introduction of invasive flora and fauna in the oceans, and dramatic increase in some species while others decline in others due to overfishing.   

Left unchecked, long-term damage to oceans will be irreversible or take decades to repair. June 8 is celebrated as World Oceans Day by the United Nations and international communities who come together each year to remember and renew ocean conservation efforts. Through a combination of remarkable ideas and unwavering effort, a number of government and non-government organisations are helping to clean up the oceans and winning the battle against polluters. We can’t cover them all – our list, thus, is a small representation of organisations that work with individuals and other organisations to help our oceans return to good health.

The Ocean Cleanup

The world’s biggest effort to rid the oceans of floating plastic waste, The Ocean Cleanup began work in 2018, overcoming teething problems and going on the become the largest such initiative. Founded and led by Dutch inventor and entrepreneur, Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup uses an innovative method named System 001, that relies on natural oceanic forces to rapidly and cost-effectively clean up the plastic already in the oceans. System 001 collects floating plastic trash by moving in tandem with the ocean’s currents, taking advantage of the water’s circular movement patterns, that cause the trash to accumulate.

Image credit: The Ocean Cleanup

Eventually, The Ocean Cleanup aims to remove 90 % of floating ocean plastic but it needs our help too. For a $/€ 50 donation, you can get early access to products made from plastic collected from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and also buy products online. The Ocean Cleanup also has plans to intercept plastic waste in rivers, which are the main source of ocean plastic pollution.


Greenpeace is an environmental NGO that operates conservation initiatives through a global network of independent national and regional Greenpeace organisations. Their oceans campaign focuses on major threats to the ocean like overfishing, pirate fishing, whaling, and intensive shrimp aquaculture. Greenpeace’s conservation efforts rely on volunteers, donations and signature campaigns to make the changes. You can help too.


Founded in 2001, Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation. Oceana works to protect marine ecosystems and conserve the global population and diversity of marine wildlife through campaigns with measurable, fact-based solutions, research and public education.

Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)

CORAL is a non-profit, environmental NGO on a mission to save the world’s coral reefs. Founded in 1994, CORAL initially engaged the diving community in coral reef conservation. They presently work with local communities to reduce direct threats to coral reefs.

CORAL also undertakes scientific studies and campaigns to better understanding climate change impact on coral and applying the information to protect reefs in the Americas. You too can help CORAL save reefs through sustainable living, consumer choices and advocacy.  

Marine Conservation Society

They are UK’s leading marine charity, working to ensure the seas are healthy, pollution free and protected. The Marine Conservation Society has achieved major successes in protecting special wildlife, tackling sewage problems, helping the seafood-buying public, and influencing Government and industry.

Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is a non-profit environmental NGO that helps formulate ocean policy at the federal and state government levels in the U.S. based on peer reviewed science. You can take action to influence government policy, or make a donation to help Ocean Conservancy advocate better policies, respond to ocean emergencies and develop innovative solutions to protect the oceans.

How you can help our oceans recover

International Volunteer HQ has drawn out a list of the Best Marine Conservation Volunteer Programs for the year 2020. If you are a diver, have a passion for marine conservation, or wish to mix adventure with conservation, the list provides information about marine conservation programs in different parts of the world, along with links to apply as a volunteer for a program of your choice.

We’re in the middle of our voyage across the oceans. Discover little-known wonders, help your kids to learn with fun, watch blockbuster ocean flicks, and keep coming back for more ocean-inspired fun and excitement all through this week. is going to the ocean

This week, takes you on an exciting, enlightening and entertaining voyage across the oceans. Follow us through June 22 to June 28 as we deep-dive into the mysteries and wonders of the vast water bodies that make our planet blue, create ocean-inspired crafts, and examine ocean-themed pop culture. All hands on deck!

By Romeo Coutinho

Rationalist, truth seeker, full time writer, part time dreamer.

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