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World Ocean Day – Summertide

07 June 2024
How you can protect oceans.
underwater scene

Every Sunday we visit Simon’s Town in Summertide and become embroiled in the lives of the characters who people the town. The show also touches on the many dramas facing the ocean and its inhabitants, from illegal fishing and overfishing to habitat destruction. Since the show focuses on these plights and 8 June is World Ocean Day, it’s the perfect time to enlist fans’ help in protecting the world’s oceans – even if you’re a landlubber. 😉

Eat sustainable seafood 🐟

Overfishing and illegal fishing are two huge threats facing the ocean. These practices deplete fish stocks at a rate faster than they can be replenished, often using methods that harm other marine life as well. To ensure you are eating seafood that has been sustainably and responsibly caught, use the SASSI guide or download their app. Try to stick to green-listed fish, which is seafood sourced from the healthiest and most well-managed populations. Support local fisheries as much as you can too. Coastal communities and locals rely on fishing for their sustenance and livelihoods and are often adversely affected by commercial and foreign fisheries.

Practise slow fashion 👗

The fashion industry has a huge negative impact on the environment, and that includes oceans. Dying and treating clothing uses a lot of chemicals, many of which pollute waterways. When we wash our clothes (particularly synthetics), microplastics are released, which also enter waterways. Let’s not forget the huge amount of discarded clothing that ends up on beaches and in oceans, because there is just too much of it. Instead of buying a new outfit for every wedding/anniversary/work function you attend, rather shop secondhand, rent or borrow clothes, or get creative with what you already own. Repair clothing you own and be a proud #outfitrepeater.

Avoid plastic 🛍

Plastics come in all shapes and sizes, from all kinds of sources, and pose all kinds of threats to our oceans. Plastic waste can include water bottles and caps, clothing, shoes, takeaway containers and cutlery, bags, straws, and much more. Not only can marine animals consume plastic when it breaks down (or even when it is still whole), but when it comes to larger pieces, they can become entangled in them. Cut down on your plastic consumption by using a reusable water bottle, refusing straws (as in all straws, even those useless paper ones that still require resources to make), making sure you take all your stuff (including your flops) with you when you leave the beach, and carry a reusable bag – and don’t lose the bag. It takes more resources to make a reusable bag or tote than it does to make a plastic bag, so avoid buying a new one every time you go to the shop – especially not for the sake of a new pattern or print.

Attend a beach clean up 🏖

If you live close to the coast, attend or host a beach clean-up (like Martin did!) and help clean up our shores. September 21 is World Clean Up Day, bringing the whole world together to tackle waste. But you don’t have to wait until then. This is something you should practise every time you hit the beach (and anywhere else), whether you live there or not. As mentioned, don’t leave your rubbish (or anything else behind) and be mindful of rules and regulations about lights, noise, and what you may or may not take off the beach (like starfish: leave them alone).

Be mindful of exploitative tourist practices 🦈

Hannes is in all kinds of trouble, and in an effort to scrape together some cash has turned to shark cage diving. This practice, as we can see by Wes’s reactions, is controversial. Since sharks are often lured to the cages using bait, their natural feeding patterns can become disrupted. What’s more, if something goes wrong, it’s usually the shark who gets the blame, further tarnishing their already shaky reputation. Always think twice about any experience that allows you to interact with wildlife (on land, air, or water), as it can cause disruptions to the animals’ habits and habitats. If you undertake this kind of experience, look for responsible operators working within the right areas and seasons.

Reduce your footprint ♻

Another problem facing the ocean is warming waters, thanks to human-induced climate change. A changing climate is a natural process the Earth undergoes, but due to humans’ rapid and incessant production and consumption of goods and services (whether that be fashion, plastic, gadgets, plane trips, car rides, and so much more), we are pumping an unprecedented amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing the climate to change at a rate faster than the Earth and its inhabitants can adapt to the change. Reduce your footprint by following the sustainability Rs: reduce, reuse, repair, recycle. We already covered some of this with fashion, but you can apply this to many different things. Don’t throw out food. Eat locally and seasonally, avoid takeaways, and include more plants in your diet. Reuse bottles, boxes, and jars. Service your car, check your tyre pressure, and go easy on the brakes and accelerator. Switch off appliances you aren’t using (especially before loadshedding). There are so many little things you can do that collectively can make a difference.

Fall in love with the ocean in Summertide every Sunday at 18:00 on M-Net channel 101. If you miss an episode you can catch up on DStv Stream here. Join the conversation on Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok using #SummertideSA.

Feature image: Getty