A sunny Sunday morning draws crowds to San Diego’s Ocean Beach in California. It starts with a single piece of trash: it’s only one plastic bottle discarded on the sand after a great day out. How much harm can it do? To Davidoff Cool Water Ambassador Scott Eastwood the answer is simple: too much. “Many people don’t realise that plastics don’t break down but often turn into microplastics which are then eaten by fish,” he says. Estimates suggest that by 2050 our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight, and while the oceans cover 70% of our planet less than 3% of our seas are protected. “Oceans are the giver of life,” continues Scott. “We can’t ignore this problem.”
It’s this realisation that has inspired Davidoff Cool Water to partner with National Geographic in the Pristine Seas Initiative. Pristine Seas, under the direction of National Geographic Explorer in Residence Dr. Enrique Sala, is on track to expand the world’s protected ocean areas to 10% by 2020. With Davidoff’s support Pristine Seas expeditions are finding, surveying, protecting, and even restoring the last wild places in our oceans. Already, the initiative has secured protection for an additional three million square kilometres of ocean while inspiring a new understanding and appreciation of our seas.
However, for many of us ocean conservation can seem too big a problem and too remote from our everyday lives to get actively involved. But Scott Eastwood is adamant that individuals really can make a huge difference. With an estimated 80% of ocean pollution starting on land the best way to beat pollution is by preventing it from ever reaching the sea. To help this happen Davidoff is encouraging individuals to demonstrate their love for the ocean by supporting beach clean-up programmes all around the world. On Sunday, July 10th this saw Scott joined by National Geographic explorer Shah Selbe and hundreds of local residents to pick trash from the shores of his home town of San Diego.
Armed with gloves, bags, and sunscreen, adults and children combed the beach collecting trash that ranged from glass bottles to tin cans to all manner of plastics. The trash was taken to collection points where it was carefully sifted and inventoried to identify the worst offenders. This information is contributing to a wider database that is helping to identify exactly what is polluting our beaches and seas. The San Diego Surfrider Foundation that helped to organize the event picked up over 80,000 cigarette-ends last year and enthuses about the significant improvements that resulted simply from banning alcohol on local beaches.
“Seeing the damage this pollution causes really makes me want to get out there and make a difference,” says Scott. And it’s with a profound sense of purpose and camaraderie that a movie star, a scientist, some surfers, school children, and all manner of San Diego residents came together for a couple of hours to collect trash on a Sunday morning. This was much more than community spirit at work, it was tangible proof that while it may be only one plastic bottle on the beach—picking it up and disposing of it properly is all it takes to make a real difference to the quality of our oceans and the quality of all our lives.
Visit love-the-ocean.com for more information.