By EarthTalk | Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2013 9:40 am on the Hour.com
Dear EarthTalk: What is the “All One Ocean” campaign? --Bill O’Neill, Los Angeles, CA
Bo Eide, courtesy Flickr
All One Ocean is a non-profit campaign launched in 2010 by long-time
author, activist and organizer Hallie Austen Iglehart with the goal of
reducing the amount of plastic and other trash that ends up in the ocean
where it compromises the health of marine wildlife and ecosystems.
Iglehart was incensed to learn that a million seabirds and 100,000
marine mammals and turtles die each year from ingesting plastic in the
water column—and created All One Ocean to do something about it.
to popular myth that most ocean pollution is oil spilled from ships,
most of it is land-based litter. “The most dangerous litter is our
throw-away plastic because of its longevity and capacity to increase in
toxicity, eventually returning to the human food chain in a more lethal
form,” reports Iglehart.
“Much of our plastic ends up in
the ocean in giant collections of trash called gyres, created by
circular ocean currents,” she adds. “They trap debris for decades where
it continues to break into ever smaller, more toxic pieces, never fully
biodegrading.” Of particular concern to Iglehart is the fact that much
of this carelessly discarded plastic winds up in the bellies of marine
life, contaminating not just ocean ecosystems but in some cases the very
seafood on our dinner plates.
The main project of All One
Ocean is the creation and maintenance of permanent, community supported
Beach Clean Up Stations, which are essentially boxes containing
reusable bags for beach visitors to use in picking up trash during their
time on the sand and in the surf. The idea is to empty any garbage into
a trash can somewhere (so it can find its way to a landfill instead of
out into the ocean) and then ideally return the bag empty to the box.
Each clean-up station also provides a sign with information on the
extent of the problem and other ways individuals can help. The idea,
according to Iglehart, is to provide “a simple, doable way for people to
have fun cleaning up trash as they enjoy their beach activities.”
Beach Clean Up Station is a practical way to insure that clean up is
happening everyday on all our beaches,” says Iglehart. “Like ‘adopt a
highway’ campaigns, Beach Clean Up Stations create community around care
for and education about these clean up hubs.”
like to see Beach Clean Up Stations in place at coastal and even
freshwater beaches all around the world, but for now the group is
starting out in Northern California. The first one was put in place at
Limantour Beach at the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County
there, with several following at other San Francisco Bay area beaches.
Iglehart hopes the campaign will encourage people to reconsider their
consumption of single use plastics, since the production and
distribution of such items contributes not just to the demise of the
oceans but also to increased global warming.
environmental issues that seem beyond our control, cleaning up beaches
is something anyone can do and indeed every little bit helps. “Every
tiny piece of human trash picked up,” Iglehart reminds us, “is one less
toxin in someone’s stomach.”
CONTACT: All One Ocean, www.alloneocean.org.
EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.