The oceans are in trouble, and it’s our fault. Humans have caused water temperatures to rise, polluted the oceans with tons of plastic and other materials, and overfished the oceans. The United Nations Environment Program in 2006 estimated that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific occupies an area about twice the size of Texas.
These jarring images of garbage in the most remote places and of marine animals choking on it have served as a call to action. Since 2009, every June 8 has been designated as World Oceans Day, which is an opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers our oceans face. 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of 30 heroes fighting to save our oceans. We created our list using information and data from environmental sources as well such as the Sierra Club and ocean advocacy organizations like Oceana.
The crisis of plastics choking the oceans has galvanized people from all walks of life from all over the world. A lawyer in India and his neighbor, repulsed by the garbage accumulating on a beach in Mumbai — one of the world’s megacities — started to clean up the trash, and that led to a conservation movement in India.
A swimmer in the Bahamas saw a sea turtle in agony over plastic it ingested and she formed an organization to combat plastic on that island nation. A noted actor from Australia took on the cause of a marine species brought close to extinction because of illegal fishing in his native country. Environmentalists hope that the sea creature doesn’t meet the fate of species that might have recently gone extinct.
All are acting with a sense of urgency. As the negative effects of plastic have become known, people have created genius inventions that can stop us from using so much plastic.