2 problems plaguing the oceans and what you can do about them

Environmentalists want to keep our oceans clean for countless reasons. For one thing, there's a lot of delicious stuff in there (we're talking about fish, of course!). For another, our oceans are a major source of carbon sequestration. This means that when we create carbon dioxide (by burning fossil fuels, generating methane gas, or through other means), our ocean's plants and algae consume it, helping to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere – which we all know is a good thing.

Unfortunately, the world's oceans face a number of uphill battles. If you're concerned about some of the problems plaguing our blue planet, there are a number of ways you can help.

Problem: Plastics

Plastics have accumulated in our oceans not only in full form (think plastic bags drifting along in the water), but also in large groups of microscopic plastic particles. These giant collections of plastics are referred to as 'garbage patches', and a number of them have already been identified by scientists. The Great Pacific Garbage patch is the most notorious, though another large patch was recently discovered off the coast of Australia.

What you can do: Instead of using plastic bags, containers, water bottles and other non-biodegradable materials, invest in reusable bags and other eco-friendly items.

Problem: Overfishing

According to the Save Our Seas Foundation, about 75 per cent of fish species are being overfished. This means that they are being harvested more quickly than they can reproduce, causing their populations to decline rapidly. Happily, Australia is a world leader in environmental production for its oceans – but overfishing is still a problem, and about 18 per cent of Australia's marine species are overfished, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

What you can do: Eat fish in moderation (or not at all), and when you purchase marine products, ensure they are environmentally harvested. Sustainableseafood.org has created a guide to help you navigate fish products so you can determine which delicacies are environmentally sound choices.