There are few things more priceless than our oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface. They produce more than half of the world’s oxygen as well as absorb roughly one-third of the carbon monoxide. We use them for shipping, recreation, food and inspiration, and this June 8, you can thank the oceans for all they do on World Oceans Day.
The oceans are living things, and humans can impact their health – for the positive and the negative.
Things like plastics continue to work their way into oceans and waterways globally. They pose a threat to marine life who can ingest them or get tangled in them, and they take decades to decompose. Be as careful as you can with plastic items like water bottles, food containers and disposable items.
Jody Sackett, of Rumson Environmental Commission, is a passionate advocate for healthy oceans and offers some great insight on making a positive impact on the World Ocean Day.
“You can begin by recognizing the effects of stormwater runoff which carries all kinds of pollutants into the waterways. Always pick up after your pets. The phosphorus and nitrogen in fertilizers contributes excessive nutrients to local waterways which can cause algal blooms that use up oxygen, resulting in fish kills and increased jellyfish populations. Even loose dirt from construction sites or bare ground can result in sediment-clouded water that harms fish by interfering with finding food and clogging their gills. These impacts are not just from one neighborhood, but from hundreds of neighborhoods within the watershed, so the cumulative effect is enormously detrimental.”
A watershed is a designated land area like a drainage basin that channels rain into a specific body of water like a river, lake or ocean. Watersheds are delineated by surrounding mountains or ridges where gravity pulls the rain into the waterways. Nearby drainage lands are the Shrewsbury River watershed and the Navesink River watershed. To find out your watershed address, visit epa.gov/waterdata/surf-your-watershed.
“You can also install Green Infrastructure items like rain gardens around your home or local parks,” Sackett said. “They capture rainfall where it lands, preventing stormwater runoff. Plant New Jersey native plants which evolved to thrive in our local climate. Their roots stabilize soils, and they are hardy, so you don’t need extra fertilizer, pest control or irrigation.”
Sackett also has some great party suggestions for Word Ocean Day.
“There are so many ways to celebrate! Share your marine knowledge with friends and family, while learning even more at festivals like the Rally for the Rivers Eco-Fest in Rumson’s Victory Park on Saturday, June 3 from 9 am to 12:30 pm. The Rumson Environmental Commission and Clean Ocean Action is excited to bring you this fun day where you can see exhibits, demonstrations on seine fishing, crafts, face-painting, music and more! You can also participate in beach cleanups. Go on an eco-tour or whale watching. Enjoy fresh seafood. Create art to raise awareness and celebrate the wonders of our seas. Collect pretty shells and learn about the animals that made them. Watch fun, ocean-based movies like ‘Finding Nemo’ and YouTube videos by NOAA about the oceans. Take a deep breath of the fresh scent of water. Build a sandcastle. Watch a sunrise or sunset over the water. We are blessed to be surrounded by so much beautiful water – let’s cherish it.”