The ocean remains one of the most vast, mysterious, and diverse places on our planet. Every day, our environment is being threatened by ocean pollution and with this much trash in the ocean, marine life is suffering at an alarming rate. To bring awareness to these colossal issues and celebrate World Water Day 2021, this Town Haul Rewind highlights ocean pollution and water conservation.

Straight from the mouths of the experts, we help to define both the problems and practical solutions with direct quotes from evergreen Town Haul episodes.

On the Ocean Pollution Problem

“80 percent of the plastic and marine debris that is in the ocean is already at the ocean floor. We’ll never see it unless we head all the way down there and decide to clean it up at that level. Those trash islands that are at the top of the water line are only the tip of the iceberg. Most of it is actually already at the ocean floor.” — Emma Riley, Lonely Whale

“In the U.S. we use 500 million single use plastic straws every single day, which really freaks me out because that comes down to 1.6 straws per person a day” — Miles Pepper, Final Straw

“One of the big problems in the ocean are microplastics, and they only account for eight percent of the total mass. They’re tiny, tiny fibers, let’s say, that even comes out of your wash. I mean, I own some pretty fancy fleeces and every time I wash them, some of those tiny fibers are going out of the drain. They’re going into water treatment plants, but they’re actually then being discharged into big bodies of water and a lot of that ends up in the ocean. So it is a huge problem.” — Millicent Pitts, Ocean Exchange

“About 5.3 million metric tons of trash, mostly plastics, enter the ocean every year. I think that equates to about 16 billion pounds of trash or so. So because a lot of that’s plastic, it doesn’t go away. Ultimately, it’s also getting back to our dinner plate, surprisingly. Many people don’t realize it, but every year, if you’re a seafood eater, you’re actually eating hundreds of tiny bits of plastic annually.” — Brian Linton, United by Blue

“The problem with plastic straws is that they take over 150 to 200 years to break down. And a lot of times the material doesn’t biodegrade, they’re in the environment for thousands of years, and continue to clog oceans and landfills and cause so much harm to marine life.” — Miles Pepper, Final Straw

“Every second breath we take comes from phytoplankton in the sea. And people don’t realize that. People really do not realize that the ocean is dying and with it, we will face, as humanity, some very serious health and environmental issues in the future.” — Millicent Pitts, Ocean Exchange

On Some Practical Solutions

“If someone can carry a reusable straw, it’s a catalyst to get them to cut out single-use plastics. But whenever the choice is there, we’ve been choosing to try to reduce single-use plastics. And it all comes back to the straw.” — Miles Pepper, Final Straw

“With almost every single oceans project we’ve worked on the issue of waste comes up. It speaks to the broader issue that needs to be addressed, which is mitigating the amount of waste that is coming into the ocean. You can have an impact on that by working with the businesses and initiatives that actually address the drivers of waste ending up in the oceans. But even individuals on a day-to-day basis can really make an effort to use a reusable water bottle and to stop producing so much waste, because so much of that waste—even when you’re working in a city—can end up in the oceans. ” — Justin Winters, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

“Even if you don’t live near an ocean there are several things you can do to reduce marine waste; litter contributes to all of this ocean debris, it washes off into creeks and gets caught in stormwater and catch basins and ends up in rivers that flow into large bodies of water—not only is it an eyesore it’s a human health problem as well. Anyone can organize a community litter cleanup.” — Millicent Pitts, Ocean Exchange

“Preparedness is key. I have a little essentials kit of things that I take with me every day, like reusable utensils, a cloth napkin that doubles as a hanky, a jar or a tin for leftovers or to compost on the go, a reusable water bottle and an emergency tote bag because you never know when you want to pick something up. This fits in a small 10 x 5 cosmetic bag that is really easy to pop in a backpack or a purse or to keep in your car. It ensures that at all times I have my basics covered and helps avoid single-use plastics and creating waste. It’s as easy as a phone, wallet, keys, essentials.” — Daniel Silverstein, Zero Waste Daniel

“Instead of just reduce, reuse, recycle; the first step is to refuse. If you refuse, you say I don’t want single-use plastics, I refuse the water bottle.” — William McDonough, Author and Architect

Listen to more episodes of the Town Haul Podcast.

Amy Koonin Taylor is Marketing Content and Media Manager at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.