World Oceans Day is celebrated annually on June 8 to celebrate and honor our ocean, which connects us all. In Belize, miles of Caribbean Sea surround our coastline, protected by the intriguing barrier reef. But with all this protecting our little country, what are we doing to protect it in return? For 2020, World Oceans Day is growing the global movement to call on world leaders by protecting 30% of our blue plant by 2030. This critical need is called 30×30. By safeguarding at least 30% of our ocean through a network of highly protected areas, we can help ensure a healthy home for all. Especially those of us in Belize!
Why is the ocean important?
The ocean benefits us in many ways, on a personal level as well on an economic and recreational level. Here are a few reasons to safeguard our sea:
- It gives both visitors and locals transportation from the mainland to one of the islands.
- Many Belizeans rely on the ocean for their livelihood; fishermen, tour guides, water taxi drivers, and coast guards all depend on the sea.
- The tourism industry is the second largest industry in Belize – the bulk of which depends comes from marine tours and the attraction of the barrier reef.
- The ocean produces over 50% of the oxygen in the whole world; if we don’t protect the ocean it can be detrimental to us.
- Swimming, fishing/sports fishing, boating, kayaking, and diving are all activities enjoyed by both locals and visitors.
- The ocean provides delicious seafood for many families and restaurants.
- Most importantly, the ocean holds our barrier reef – which protects Belize from many passing hurricanes, storms, and large waves.
What can we do to protect the ocean?
There are many things we can do the keep the ocean clean; whether young or old we can all contribute to it. Here are a few simple things we can do:
- Reduce the use of plastics. This is the most dangerous and non-biodegradable material.
- Educate yourself and others around you about the importance of protecting the ocean.
- Stop littering completely. Especially at the beaches or when you’re in the water; put your garbage where it belongs and if you see garbage lying around discard those as well.
- Support local groups/organizations when they are having clean-ups in different areas. (OCEANA, Belize Audubon Society, Save the Seas Belize)
- Practice sustainable living by using biodegradable containers, take bags when you go shopping so you don’t have to use plastic bags, reduce your light and water usage inside of your homes.
- Listen to your tour guides carefully, and follow all rules and regulations made on marine life.
These are things that can easily be practiced by your families!
Written by: Reyann Garcia