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It’s World Oceans Day today. But given Cumbernauld is nearly 30 miles from the nearest beach some people may think ‘so what’! But they’d be wrong. The sea, and our impact on it, starts wherever we live.

Every drop of water we drink, wash in, see falling from the sky as rain or watch flowing by in our streams and rivers ends up in the sea. And anything we put into the water ends up there too. The fish we eat, the food we feed our pets, and much of the food that’s given to the cows and sheep that feed us, comes from the sea. So what we choose to buy – and what we choose to throw away, has a massive impact on our oceans.

So this World Oceans Day, here are a just few things you can do to protect our oceans, and help to make them healthier and safer for the whales, dolphins, fish, puffins, albatrosses and all the other amazing plants and animals that depend on them.

  • Plastic pollution has a massive impact on the ocean. It strangles and suffocates animals like seals and turtles, and breaks down into tiny particles that are mistaken for food – so baby seabirds starve to death. So try to avoid single-use plastics, and if you have to use them, recycle them.
  • Join a litter-pick! Clean Up Cumbernauld is a brilliant local group you can join to help out locally.
  • If you smoke please don’t drop your cigarette stubs on the ground – they have plastic in the filters which doesn’t break down.
  • Overfishing and some fishing techniques severely damage the ocean floor and reduce fish stocks so much that the fish can’t recover. If you buy fish try to make sure it’s as sustainable as possible – check out the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide www.mcsuk.org/goodfishguide/. Some of our cheapest fish – like mackerel – is also more sustainable!
  • The hooks used to catch most tuna also snare albatrosses and cause them to drown – with 15 out of the 22 species now considered endangered. Could you buy something else instead?

These are just a few ideas. If you’re interested in finding out more about our seas and how to protect them Scottish Wildlife Trust has loads of information on Cumbernauld Living Landscape’s sister project ‘Living Seas’ at scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/our-work/our-projects/living-seas/ .

Living Seas also worked with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, to produce an activity pack for 3-6 year olds all about seabirds! This accompanies the new animated film, Yoyo & the Little Auk; the film and supporting resources can be downloaded for free here: rsno.org.uk/project/yoyo-the-little-auk/.

Just remember – the sea starts with you!


Sue Walker