Marine litter is any form of litter that is found in the oceans as a results of human activities both on and off shore. This litters ranges from plastics, paper bags to even electronic materials.
Most of the time, these litters will washed ashore, causing wear and tear at the coastal tourism sites.
In Ghana from the year 2005, that is halfway through Ghana’s second 15 year tourism development plan from 1996-2010, almost half of the country’s coast is covered with litters washed from the sea. Raising the awareness that the number of litter pollution in our marine oceans is actually too dangerous for sustainability of marine lives and coastal tourism resources.
Types of Marine Litter
According to UNEP there are many types of marine litter. There are about 70 percent of marine litter, such as glass, metal, and all sorts of marine equipment and other refuse, sinks to the ocean floor.
While marine litter consists of all sorts of materials, many plastics float or remain suspended in water, making them more visible. And many also are resistant to degradation and persist in the marine environment.
EFFECTS OF MARINE LITTER
The effect of Marine litter on both marine lives and tourism is symbiotic, such that as these litters feel the ocean, they will be interpreted as food by the fishes in the ocean and when these fishes feed on plastics, of they do not die then it literally means that Ghanaians and tourist in the country will also be eating plastics.
Also when these litters are washed ashore, they will affect the “spirit” of the coastal areas thereby imprinting a negative impact on marine and coastal tourism( sea, sun, sand activities)
Causes of Marine Litter Pollution
- Poorly managed or poorly resourced landfill sites
- Sewage treatment and combined sewer overflows
- People using beaches for recreation or shore fishing
- Manufacturing sites, plastic processing, and transport
- Shore-based solid-waste disposal and processing facilities
- Inadequately covered waste containers and waste-container vehicles
- Inappropriate or illegal dumping of domestic and industrial trash or waste
- Street litter that is washed by rain or snowmelt, or blown by wind into waterways
How You Can Minimise Marine litters
Minimising our use of plastics we use at the coast means looking for all the ways plastics have infiltrated our daily lives. From shopping bags to food packaging to bottled drinks, there are opportunities in many areas of your life and travels to limit your use of disposable plastics.
Bring your own water bottle.
Buy a portable water bottle and then invest in travel-sized water purification systems. Options include: decontamination tablets, sterilizing through UV light (like the SteriPEN), and filtering straws (like the LifeStraw). Disrupting this habit makes a powerful statement about your commitment to minimising your use of plastics.
Carry your own collapsible tote.
Just as grocery stores are pushing for shoppers towards reusable bags, you can carry a tiny tote in your purse and use it when buying souvenirs. Many of these totes fold into themselves, making it compact way to eliminate the need for destructive plastic shopping bags — which you likely don’t need anyway once LITTER
back at the hotel packing your suitcase!
Refuse small shampoo bottles from hotels.
Invest in quality reusable toiletry containers and refuse the single-use shampoo and soaps provided by the hotel. Since it’s difficult to avoid using plastics altogether, it’s important to assess the amount of plastic per use. Using your own containers is an effective way to ensure you’re limiting the amount of plastics you consume on vacation.
Recycle when possible.
Look for opportunities to throw recyclables in designated bins, or ask if your hotel has a recycling programme. Often, even if the city or town does not offer recycling programmes, your guesthouse or hotel collects and recycles plastics. If that’s the case, toss plastics in your bag throughout the day and recycle once back at your accommodations.
We are all charged with protecting the planet from the devastating effects of plastics. Cousteau summed it well: “No matter how remote we feel we are from the oceans, every act each one of us takes in our everyday lives affects our planet’s water cycle and in return affects us.” Consider the magnitude of the plastics problem, and take steps to reduce your plastics consumption.