The ocean is earth’s life support. We rely on it to regulate our climate, absorb CO2 and it’s the number one source for protein for over a billion people. At the rate we are polluting the ocean with around 12.7 million tonnes of plastic a year, the damage we are doing to marine life and our ecosystem is becoming irreparable. Our actions over the 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years to come.
Our focus is on the blue economy, working in a multi-dimensional way to further the cause. While we work on one-off efforts such as clean-ups we also have more of long-term strategic focus, encouraging truly sustainable practices. We’ve worked on numerous projects over the years, from rescuing whales and setting up sanctuaries, to cleanups, to research and expeditions, but our core mission is saving natural resources and transforming ecosystems and economies.
We recycle and transform discarded plastic into new products, working in partnership to benefit local organisations and communities. Products range from clothing, to stationery and furniture.
We work with businesses to ensure more sustainable practices and embedding of systems for impact reporting, measurement and verification.
We initiate projects such as the launching of the DA Device, (soon to be renamed by kids in Derby, UK), which will map and gain never previously recorded plastic pollution dynamics. We plan expeditions such as those to The Ganges and The Antarctic to determine the extent of the problem and engage in partnerships to collaborate for implementation of solutions.
In addition to the DA 1 device, we are working on stop-at-source technology which will continuously clean the rivers and prevent a majority of plastic pollution making its way into the ocean.
We mobilize fisheries, recyclers, manufacturers and policy makers, to reduce, reuse and ultimately recycle marine litter, mitigating the impact on both the environment and natural resources.
Think Ocean’s roots lie with a group of environmentalists who together in 1992, united and working with several organisations including the International Whaling Commission towards a common goal; to stop the hunting of whales in the South Pacific, and worked directly with the Chilean Government to secure the country’s signature on the treaty. This led to the creation of an Antarctic Whales Sanctuary – The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary (created between 1994 - 1995). Since that day and under different names, the founding members of Think Ocean continued working on environmental projects globally, such as the San Antonio Wildlife Rescue Centre, working in the “El Nino current” Pacific Ocean emergency, and expanded focus to supporting organisations tackling whale hunting, deforestation, wildlife trafficking, conservation and the adoption of CITES treaty of Latin America, and working to establish Ramsar sites globally. Throughout the years we have worked with several organisations ranging from Greenpeace, the Sea Shepherds, The Rainforest Action Network in Brazil, customs agencies in Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia, and worked alongside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brazil for the CITES multinational program, United Nations Environment Program, Galapagos Island Conservation Society, Bahamas Plastic Movements and many more. The wildlife rescue centre set up by the original group of activists is now one of the largest wildlife rescue centres in Latin America- the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is housed by the National History Museum of San Antonio- MUSA.
One of the original founders, having seen the impact of plastic on the oceans, its inhabitants, and the effect on human populations, shifted focus to addressing the plastic crisis. This was how Think Ocean came to be, still working toward the goal of saving the planet but on a different route there.
We are realists and while we campaign for a reduction in plastic use, we also understand that in some instances, there aren’t as yet suitable and viable alternatives. We feel while it’s important to reduce our use of plastic, it is equally important to increase community awareness around plastic use, to work with governments and local authorities to ensure improved plastic waste management systems, and to collaboratively work with private, public, non-profit and community sectors toward a circular economy which allows for us to reuse our plastic waste, whilst also stimulating local economies through the production of both necessary and in-demand items.
In an effort to help solve the plastic crisis here is an overview of our past, current and planned activity:
- clean ups with thousands of volunteers of all ages and from every part of the society, globally. Countries include the UK, Belgium, Bangladesh, USA, India, Brazil and Chile.
- currently working on a circular economy initiative in the UK working with the local authorities, stakeholders such as universities, and recycling plants to facilitate the recycling of waste plastic into products that can be used by local organizations and communities.
- expeditions planned to The Ganges as well as The Antarctic to research plastic pollution factors and to engage with local organizations to determine strategic ways to collaborate to both clean the waterways, and to empower local communities to benefit from a plastic free environment whilst working toward partnerships that enable a circular economy approach of sustainability by design.
- working with local authorities and local schools to engage communities and release the DA1 device which will map plastic pollution dynamics, to gain never recorded before data of plastic as it makes its way from rivers inland to the ocean.
The following are some of the larger scale, more strategic initiatives that we are working on:
By 2050, plastic in the oceans will outweigh fish, predicts a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum. The report projects the oceans will contain at least 937 million tons of plastic and 895 million tons of fish by 2050. According to National Geographic, 73% of all beach litter is plastic. The litter includes filters from cigarette butts, bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene containers. According to the United Nations, ingestion of plastic kills an estimated 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals each year. Additionally, more than 90% of all birds and fish are believed to have plastic particles in their stomach. According to a report from the Guardian, an estimated 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s — that’s equivalent to the weight of more than 800,000 Eiffel Towers. With all of this, only 9% of it has been recycled.
Most of the plastic in the oceans, earth’s last sink, flows from land. Plastic is carried to sea by major rivers, which act as conveyor belts, picking up more and more rubbish as they move downstream. Once at sea, much of the plastic rubbish remains in coastal waters. But once caught up in ocean currents, it can be transported around the world.
Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been lost at sea, abandoned or discarded when they have become damaged.
A seemingly harmless discarded fishing net, left to drift in the ocean can strangle a hapless sea turtle travelling to its nesting ground. Sharks, fish and other marine life all over the world have suffered this fate.
At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, and make up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. Which is equivalent to dumping a rubbish truck (1 ton) of plastic into the ocean per minute. Marine species ingest or are entangled by plastic debris, which causes severe injuries and deaths.
There are lots of statistics we could share, but essentially, the problem is one of inadequate sustainability practices.
We have launched new sustainable products that enables people and consumers to play a role in solving the ever-growing problem of ocean plastic. Our products are made from bottles and debris collected from waterways and oceans in countries or areas that lack of formal waste or recycling systems.
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