It should be clear to us by now, we need to become more mindful about how we treat our environment. I recall as a kid being taught about littering in school and how we all needed to make an effort to stop it. It seemed so prominent back then. I remember going out into the school-yard and cleaning up litter as part of our awareness as to just how much trash is out there.
As I got older I felt that littering became much less of an issue with trash receptacles everywhere and seeing less garbage on the ground. But has it really translated to change? And has it happened everywhere?
Let’s talk about the ocean for a second, as of 2015 it was estimated that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. This is broken down into two types. 269,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the ocean, and about 4 billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer littering the deep sea.
How big of a problem is this? About 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement, and that only includes ones that are found and reported. Approximately 1 million sea birds also die yearly from plastic. A single plastic bag can kill numerous sea animals due to the fact that they take so long to disintegrate. The part you may not think about is, that animal then decomposes and the bag will be released once again into the ocean making it possible for another animal to eat the same bag creating an endless cycle.
As stated on the 4Ocean website: “To date, there have been 275 billion plastic bags produced worldwide in just 2017 alone. Every second, a massive amount of 160,000 plastic bags are being produced and used. By the end of this year, we will have used 5 billion plastic bags. According to The World Count of these 5 trillion bags, 5 million of them will make their way into the ocean either indirectly due to things like poor waste management, or directly by people who unfortunately do not know the significant consequences to the environment from their actions. Additionally, only less than 1% of these used plastic bags are properly recycled. This is why plastic is the number one and most serious source of pollution in the ocean.”
Even though there have been efforts to help clean the ocean over the past few years, we know much work still needs to be done. Thankfully, there are people doing just that.
How 4Ocean Cleans The Ocean
Two young surfers with a passion and draw to the ocean reached a point where enough was enough when it came to ocean trash so they decided to do something about it.
Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze met in college and became friends. They took a trip to Indonesia one year and realized how bad the ocean plastic problem was there. This inspired an inner search to find a way to help put an end to the issue. They began coming up with ideas as to how they could help, soon enough they realized their goal was attainable and officially started their journey with 4Ocean.
They founded 4Ocean in January and have had an incredible response due to the fact that people realize how big of an issue cleaning up the ocean is. And they want to help!
4Ocean takes to the ocean and coastlines 7 days a week cleaning up plastic that’s found floating and down deep. To date, they have have removed approximately 93,000 pounds of plastic from the ocean around countries including the US, Bahamas, Haiti and the Philippines.
A fleet of boats, complete with divers and clean up crews, head out on the ocean to help return it back to a more habitable state for ocean life. Efforts that are welcome by mother nature, animal life and humans.
We asked co-founder Andrew Cooper what their long term plans were for 4Ocean and he stated, “We don’t plan on ever stopping. We would never want to clean up less than what is being put into the ocean.”
How You Can Help
4Ocean has created a bracelet that empowers their efforts and gives people the chance to help clean the ocean too. By purchasing their unisex bracelets, you will remove one pound of trash from the ocean.
As 4Ocean states, the bracelet is simply a tool to catapult the mission. The mission is the biggest focus.
Their bracelet is made from 100% Recycled Materials. The beads are made from recycled glass bottles & the cord is made from recycled plastic water bottles. It comes complete with a stainless steel 4Ocean charm.
Of course, you can also volunteer to join 4Ocean cleanups or hit the coastlines yourself! At the end of the day, it’s all about the mission of cleaning our oceans (and planet!) of the mess we’ve made and helping marine life thrive.
You can grab a 4Ocean bracelet here to support their efforts and pull one pound of plastic from the ocean. Happy cleaning!