This past Saturday, September 11th, MTS Logistics held its first annual Clean Oceans Project event.
The event was held at Far Rockaway beach in New York City. It was open to all employees and their families. While the focus was on cleaning the beach, the underlying message and goal was to educate and raise awareness for the current and future generations.
Many people are unaware of what is happening with the oceans. They lead busy lives and go to their local beach for a fun day or go away on vacation to some tropical island. They take in the view, and it all looks lovely and peaceful. Our goal is to make people aware of how the oceans and their lives are interconnected. Ocean pollution is not only what washes up on our beaches but what gets into our food supply. Chemicals, toxins and heavy metals work their way up the food chain and end up on the menu.
We believe that by getting children involved at a young age, they start understanding the importance of the ocean and develop habits that benefit the environment. They can learn about the impact of pollution on the environment and start thinking about what small steps they can take to start making a difference. Picking up trash, learning the importance of recycling and making them aware of their carbon footprint are just some of the good habits children can learn that will help keep oceans clean.
We didn’t just want this to be a beach cleaning event.
While important, the amount of garbage collected is nothing compared to getting families involved and learning about the importance of the oceans. We also wanted to make this a fun day. We arranged for a scavenger hunt for the kids who attended and gave out prizes including ocean themed books and stickers. We also had Caitlyn Simon and Jen Cucchiarella from the City Parks Foundation give a talk on the importance of oceans in our lives and provide information on the wildlife and plants that exist at the beach and on the shoreline.
How important is the ocean? Just look at some of these facts:
- Pollution of air, land, and water cause more than 9 million premature deaths – 16% of all deaths worldwide.
- Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic goes into the ocean.
- Some of the most commonly littered items found on shorelines and the sea floor include: cigarettes, fishing line, plastic fragments, food wrappers, plastic bottles, glass
bottles, plastic bottle caps, metal cans, plastic bags and synthetic foam.
- Every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.
- Plastic debris causes the death of over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year.
- The Great Pacific Garbage patch is the size of Texas and there are five of these sites around the world.
At MTS Logistics, we earn our living through ocean freight. 90% of world trade moves by ocean freight. We have a responsibility to help keep our oceans clean. We need to do our part for our local community to help keep our beaches clean while raising awareness to the issue. We need to make up for some of the issues that are causing damage to the environment.
Here are some facts of how shipping negatively affects oceans and the environment:
- On a yearly basis, one giant container ship emits greenhouse gases the equivalent of 50 million cars.
- The ocean shipping industry releases 3% of world’s greenhouse gases – the same amount as the entirety of Germany or Japan.
- The ocean shipping industry is the sixth largest emitter of CO2 gases.
- On some large ocean vessels with scrubbers, they are meant to clean smokestack emissions, but discharge their waste into the water.
- Communities living around ports have higher cancer rates than surrounding neighborhoods.
We had a great time at our event. Everyone was excited to be there, and we hope everyone left with an understanding of how important the oceans are to our daily lives. With awareness and education, change will come. The next generation already is more environmentally conscious than previous ones. There is good news on the horizon in the shipping industry with cleaner ships being ordered. New technologies are being used and developed to collect plastic from the world’s oceans.