26 Jul 2022
Authored by Simon Doran, HullWiper MD
The ocean has been integral to my working life for the better part of over 40 years. We’re all becoming more familiar with the critical condition of the big blue and the various factors that have contributed to its current state – of which marine pollution is one of the biggest contributors. I’ve penned a number of green initiatives the shipping industry is implementing to protect the seven seas, and shared my thoughts on what we as a collective need to do to reach these goals and milestones.
The greater ecological challenges we face today is a direct result of our actions. Human interference is mentioned as one of the major contributors to environmental degradation, defined as “any change or disturbance to the environment perceived to be harmful or undesirable”. Global warming, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, climate change, resource depletion, waste disposal (and many, many more) affect every one of us. So, what are we doing about it?
Tracking the trash
Our participation in making a change in the communities we live in is crucial in the race against time. There are one of two ways we could approach this. Stand on the sidelines and do nothing or stand up and get involved.
Why not consider our use of everyday household basics and essentials such as food, clothing, cleaning products, batteries, plastics, and paper? If not disposed of properly, most of what we throw away ends up in landfills. This waste is trapped underground with little oxygen and can take up to a million years to decompose. These dumping sites release methane, a toxic contributor toward greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), which have a direct impact on climate change. Products that take the longest to disintegrate include product packaging, plastic bags and bottles, aluminum and tin cans, glass bottles, styrofoam, wool, nylon, cosmetics, and light bulbs.
From donating old clothes to a local charity, using a recycling system at home, buying biodegradable products and reusable bags to upcycling unused veggies in a compost bin, we can limit our junk output by changing our behaviours and decisions. Our daily routines also have an impact on the health of our planet - instead of driving put your legs to work and ride a bike, save electricity by using energy-efficient lightbulbs and unplug appliances that are not being used.
There are many local organisations and initiatives to get involved in. Whether its ecology, plant or bird life, green innovations and technology, nature conservation, health, renewable energy or the ocean, with a quick search on google you will find what lights the passion in your heart.
Global eco movements
When we take time to look at the bigger (global) picture, and we can all make the time, there are numerous drivers for environmental change on international, regional, and national levels. Sustainable actions, policies, processes, and systems are being adopted by (to name a few) governments, corporations, associations, lobbyist, and environmental groups around the world.
Helping communities and the environment to prosper and flourish, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) are focused on six bold sustainability goals. Collaboration is fundamental to creating a climate-resilient and zero-carbon world, increasing food availability, conserving the world’s most important forests, securing freshwater for people and nature, safeguarding healthy oceans and marine livelihoods and conservation of threatened wildlife and wild places.
EarthDay.Org works toward diversification, education, and activation of global environmental movements, with links on their site to initiate or participate in a project. One of my favorite campaigns is The Great Global Cleanup® which gets members of your workplace or just a community to join in massive trash cleanups in neighbourhoods, beaches, rivers, lakes, trails, and parks.
With a global network of more than 1,800 civil society organisations in over 130 countries, the Climate Action Network (CAN) is fighting the good fight against the climate crises as well as social and racial injustice. Their work is steered through technical working groups (and other collaborations) which include agriculture, ecosystems, energy, technology, and transparency.
Young Friends of the Earth Europe is a movement created and run by the young generation (not me) and youth organisations. Active in more than 20 countries, they work in cooperation with Friends of the Earth Europe and Friends of the Earth International for social and environmental justice on a local, national, and European level. Campaigns and events are produced in collaboration with member groups across Europe.
Shaping our future
In 2020 HullWiper Ltd became one of four founding members of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s Global Industry Alliance for Marine Biosafety GIA , which has a mandate to work with the IMO’s GloFouling Partnerships Project to help accelerate the development of technology solutions that help to prevent hull fouling. In addition, HullWiper has been involved with writing an industry standard for in-water cleaning and with AMPP (ex NACE) to write industry guidelines for in water inspection. HullWiper also supports amongst others but notably, the Vancouver Maritime Centre for Climate VMCC which is an industry led initiative dedicated to accelerating the transition to a zero-emissions shipping industry in British Columbia.
HullWiper’s goals are simple – no harm to people, no accidents, no security breaches, and no damage to the environment. This is underpinned by our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include, obviously, life below water (SDG 14), good health and well-being (SDG 3), and responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)
Economic, environmental, and social responsibility is important to the HullWiper family. As Mitch Malpass, one of our ROV Technicians says, “the health of the ocean is close to my heart, and this drives me to make eco-conscious decisions for my lifestyle”.