Happy World Oceans Day.

On the 8th of June people gather around the globe to celebrate the mysterious deep blue sea. It’s a day to acknowledge how vital the oceans are to our existence and to assess our progress towards protecting and preserving them.

In this post, we’ll deep dive into the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. We’ll discuss what it is, why it’s important, and what we can do to help achieve it. Now let’s dive in. After all, SDG14 is one of the core SDGs that we aim to help solve at Tripulse. 

What are the 17 sustainable development goals?

In 2015, The United Nations launched ‘The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, a blueprint for ending poverty of all kinds and protecting the planet. At its heart, are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Tackling everything from zero hunger to responsible production, these goals aim to create a holistic and strategic approach to improving the quality of life for everyone. You can read more about all 17 on the SDG website, but for World Ocean’s Day, we’re focusing on number 14: Life Below Water.

SDG 14: Life below water

Imagine a world without any oceans. Scary, right?

More than just missing beach trips, we’d be without our most precious resource. The oceans cover 70% of our planet, over 3 billion people depend on them for their livelihood, and we all rely on them for energy, water, and food.

Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water, is all about protecting the world’s oceans. It sets out to eliminate pollution, prevent overfishing, and implement strategies to responsibly manage and protect marine life. It can be broken down into these mini-goals:

1. Reduce marine pollution
2. Protect and restore ecosystems
3. Reduce ocean acidification
4. Sustainable fishing
5. Conserve costal and marine areas
6. End subsidies contributing to overfishing
7. Increase economic benefits from sustainable use of marine resources
8. Increase scientific knowledge, research, and technology for ocean health
9. Support small scale fishers
10. Implement and enforce international sea law

As you can see, it covers many different areas. Now, let’s dive deeper into the top one: pollution.

What’s the problem? Plastic, pollution, & toxins

There are many nasty things that get washed up in the oceans, but plastic is by far the most common. It makes up 80% of all marine debris, from plastic bags floating on the surface to microplastics stuck in deep-sea sediments.

When plastic enters the oceans, it gets digested by marine life and makes its way into our food chain. Several chemicals in the production of plastics are known to be toxic and research has found that microplastics in seafood may pose a risk to human health.

As we discussed in this post, this is made worse by the fact that microplastics have the potential to absorb toxins from the surrounding environment. So not only will they ingest microplastics, but they will also be exposed to harmful pollutants that are docked to the microplastics.

The scariest part? Researchers from the Ellen MacAuthur Foundation warn that if the volume of plastic entering the ocean continues to grow there’ll be more plastic than fish in the seas by 2050. That’s a world no one wants to see.

What’s activewear got to do with it?

Not only does the production of clothes often require a huge amount of water, which you can read more about in our previous blog, but it’s also a big water pollutant. In fact, around 20% of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide originates from the fashion industry.

We’ve established that plastic is a big problem for our oceans, and since 60% of materials used by the fashion industry are made from plastic, it’s easy to see where the problem lies.

Polyester, which a lot of activewear is made from, is a particularly guilty culprit. This synthetic material is a plastic made from crude oil and when it’s washed (which is likely a lot for sweaty sportswear!) it releases thousands of microplastics into the environment. This makes its way into the oceans and harms marine life.

Even Recycled PET bottles and synthetics aren’t as clean as they claim to be. While reclaiming plastic does prevent it from becoming waste, the clothes still need to be washed, and so still release microplastics and putting plastic right back in the oceans.

As Common Objective warn, ‘be careful not to tout [recycled] materials as a silver-bullet solution to fashion’s environmental crisis, which largely stems from the overproduction of cheap and disposable garments’.

At Tripulse, we made it our mission to stop microplastic pollution. Through the vehicle of sportswear we tackle the issue from the very source: the material choice. Tencel Lyocell, the wood-based fabric we use in our activewear, is made in a circular system where 99% of the water re-used. The water used in production is purified in an efficient wastewater treatment plant, and the cooling water is not chemically changed and is safely released back into the environment.

On top of that, all our materials are Oekotex Standard 100 certified, and REACH and STEP conform, meaning they don’t contain any harmful chemicals that could pollute our waters.

They are just some of the ways we’re looking out for our oceans, but we’re always striving to do more. Here are some simple ways we can all work together to do our part this World Ocean’s Day.

World Oceans Day: 5 things you can do to celebrate

1. Stay informed
Gather your friends to watch a film or documentary about water pollution and marine life. We recommend A Plastic Ocean or Seaspiracy
2. Donate to charity
Find a Goal 14 charity or Marine life charity and make a donation (big or small!). You could even arrange a fundraiser to make a larger donation.
3. Organize a clean-up
If there’s less waste on land (especially beaches!) less waste will end up in the sea. Why not get your community together to clear up waste in your area? You can even try ‘plogging’ (jogging + litter picking).
4. Attend an event
There are many events planned for World Ocean’s Day, check out this page to see if there’s one near you.
5. Cut-down on plastic
Do you need to refresh your New Year’s Goal to cut back on plastic? Try taking a tote bag shopping, using metal straws and, of course, choosing clothes made with plastic-free fabric.

To sum up…

We’ve covered some pretty frightening facts about oceans, including:

  • over 3 billion people depend on them for their livelihood
  • if the volume of plastic entering the ocean continues to grow there’ll be more plastic than fish in the seas by 2050.
  • around 20% of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide originates from the fashion industry.

But luckily, there are things you can do to make sure your sportswear isn’t harming the ocean, such as:

  • Check the label to avoid synthetics (even recycled ones!) and choose sustainable materials like Tencel instead.
  • Opt for clean and non-toxic sportswear by looking out for the Oekotex certification.
  • Wash your sportswear less and air dry it when you can (which is even easier with our naturally antibacterial and odour resistant activewear).

We hope, however, you’ve finished reading feeling empowered and inspired to take action. Our mantra at Tripulse is #bebetter. We believe that hope and optimism are the driving force for change.

We might just be one drop in the ocean, but together we can make a positive change and protect our oceans.

 

 

Sources:

(1) https://sdgs.un.org/goals

(2) https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/oceans/

(3) https://togetherband.org/pages/life-below-water

(4) https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/marine-plastic-pollution

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132564/

(6) https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/topics/plastics/overview

(7) https://www.wri.org/insights/apparel-industrys-environmental-impact-6-graphics

(8) https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/fashions-tiny-hidden-secret

(9) https://www.commonobjective.co/article/is-recycled-polyester-green-or-greenwashing

(10) https://plasticoceans.org/about-a-plastic-ocean/

(11) https://www.seaspiracy.org/

(12) https://worldoceanday.org/take-action/plan-your-event/

 

 

 

 

Juni 07, 2022 — Franziska Mesche

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