How to celebrate World Ocean's Day (even when you're nowhere the ocean)

Photo Credit: Andreas Bruecker, Unsplash

What is World Oceans Day?

World Oceans Day is an international celebration on the 8th June bringing the world together to honour and commemorate the oceans. It’s a day to learn more about how the oceans impact our daily lives, learn why they need protection and how to take action, wherever you are.

But why does it matter?

If you are based in a coastal town where people's livelihoods depend on the sea it might be easy to see why protecting this source of life is important. But, what about hotels in landlocked countries or inland cities, does it still matter?

Yes, the oceans impact people's lives all over the world. Here are a few facts about them you might not have realised.

Your guests are likely to resonate with these causes. They may have spent time on the coast themselves and appreciate the importance first hand, or they may be aware of the challenges marine life face from the increasing media attention and social media posts. Either way showing your support for World Oceans Day is a great way to enhance guest experience, whilst also making a difference to the planet.

What are the challenges?

You might have already heard the quote that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by weight by 2050? But did you know that UNESCO predict that by the year 2100 more than half of the world's marine species could be threatened by extinction?

Image Credit: Angela Compagno

The oceans are impacted in several ways: climate change, over-fishing, pesticides and chemicals. As well as the sheer amount of plastic that is collecting there.

Where does all the plastic come from?

There are many different sources of ocean plastics:

  • Waste is blown or dumped into rivers, and eventually makes its way out to sea.

  • Wet wipes, sanitary items, and other plastics can be flushed.

  • Micro plastic fibres from synthetic clothing, bedding, and other materials are shed when the items are washed.

  • Fishing nets and gear can be discarded or lost at sea.

Rivers all over the world are carrying plastic into the oceans. Some of the rivers thought to transport the most plastic include the Nile and the Niger in Africa, and the Indus, the Mekong, and the Yangtze in Asia. These rivers travel through many different countries and cities before reaching the ocean and transport tonnes of plastic and waste with them as they go.

One of the worst is thought to carry up to 1.5 million tonnes of plastic every year. But this isn’t just a problem for Asia and Africa, rivers all over the globe are contributing on a huge scale. The Ocean Clean up have developed a fantastic interactive tool to show the different impact of rivers around the globe, why not have a look and see if there is one near you:

Ready to make a change?

Here are a few simple actions you can take to get involved:

Become a water Refill station

Did you know over a million plastic bottles are bought globally every minute?

Reducing the number of plastic bottles we use and making it easier for guests to do the same can drastically reduce the amount of plastic consumed.

By setting up as a water refill site, you encourage guests and other potential customers to refill their water bottles at your hotel.

You can put up signs to let guests know refills are available, or sign up to an app to let more people know where you are. Refill, Tap, Refill My Bottle and Cleanwave are all examples of apps from different parts of the world where hotels, cafes, bars and businesses have already joined together to provide refills.

We recommend trying out the apps and seeing which one works the best in your area, and sharing that information with your guests.

Celebrate your local ocean source - all oceans start somewhere

Rivers, streams, springs and canals all eventually make their way out to the ocean. Is there a water way near your hotel? Encouraging people to visit and use local waterways not only helps them to be more active, but it supports the local businesses around the water, and encourages local communities to invest in the waterway’s development and upkeep. You could provide maps of your local river, and highlight popular places to visit along the way. Why not write down how far the river has to travel to get to the ocean. Encouraging your guests and staff to think about its journey. If you want to get more creative a few more ways to celebrate your local source could be to:

  • Create an audio walking tour that people can listen to with facts about the area as they go

  • Start up a social media competition to ask guests and staff to share their favourite spots.

  • Run a treasure hunt for children. You could ask them to find a certain number of places, work out where photos were taken, or use items found on the way to solve clues.

  • Or why not arrange a tour of the local area, either through the hotel or inviting a local guide to share their ideal waterway walk.

You could ask guests to donate to an ocean charity if they participate or enjoy the activity, and don’t forget to remind them to take a reusable water bottle as they go.

Image Credit: Thomas Vogel - Unsplash

Arrange a litter pick in an area near you - Clean ups aren’t just for beaches

World Oceans Day is the perfect time to arrange a litter pick in your local area. Whether you are cleaning up your street, local park, or local river. You can get your staff and guests engaged and there are so many benefits of running a clean up session. Litter picks:

  • Enhance the guest experience

  • Support your relationship with the local community

  • Encourage team building

  • Make the local area look cleaner and nicer

  • Provide a great photo opportunity for social media or a press release.

If you're not sure how to get started or what you need to do we’ve developed a pack you can download here: with safety information, score cards and press release template you can use.

Stop Flushing - Remind your staff and customers not to flush wet wipes or other non-flushable items

Do you already have communications to remind guests that certain items are not flushable? Providing clear communications for guests and staff, and placing them in areas where they are likely to see them such as in the bathroom, can reduce the number of items being flushed out into the oceans, and help prevent costly blockages in your pipes. Try to make it easy for your customers to do the right thing, providing a bin with a lid in the toilet to make it easier to dispose of items without needing to use the toilet.

Despite our mantra being #LetsReduceSingleUse, we are realistic that sanitary disposal is single use by nature and one product we love is Fab Little Bag they are working to end the taboo on periods and provide an easy disposal method for tampons and pads using biodegradable sealable bags.

Despite popular belief, wet-wipes are not flush friendly. If you are still using wet wipes for cleaning consider changing to a reusable alternative such as glass or bamboo cloths, or using retired cotton bedding to make your own cloths at no cost.

Take the first step to reduce unnecessary plastic in your hotel

The first step everyone can take to reduce unnecessary plastic waste going into the ocean, is to stop using it. Whether you are in a city or on the coast, reducing your consumption and encouraging your customers, employees and suppliers to do the same will impact upon the amount of plastic produced, and eventually reduce the amount of plastic that makes its way out to the ocean. If you’ve been trying to eliminate plastic, but you’re not sure where to start take a look at our online resources for practical guidance and inspiration.

Happy World Oceans Day!

Keeping Oceans Plastic Free
Image Credit: Todd Cravens, Unsplash