We used to call ecology an attitude that is characterised by care for the environment; but above all it is a science that studies the interaction between living things and their environment. It gives insight into vital systems as they are now and how they may change in the future. Ecology is a natural balance. People enjoy nature to meet their own needs. Therefore, they must protect nature so that it can ensure continuity.
Improper or total failure to pay attention to the ecological balance leads to the inevitable destruction of the ecosystem. In this regard, the importance of ecology is understood.
Because of the natural beauty and ecosystems of the Caribbean islands, which is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea that is filled with aquatic life, a proper system of managing this delicate ecosystem is if the highest importance.
Recreation, tourism, shipping, and fishing are the driving forces behind the economy of the Caribbean Regional Ecosystem. Coastal communities face all sorts of environmental and ocean pollution problems. However, the region is actively working to reduce the negative impact of human activities on Caribbean resources and ecosystems.
Our ocean faces challenges from habitat pollution, development, and climate change. Today, industries such as offshore oil drilling, shipping, aquaculture, and even renewable energy are expanding, which in turn threatens the health of the ecosystem.
As the main financial source and ecological asset that the tourism sector in the Caribbean depends, the ocean/Caribbean Sea also requires protection. Not so long ago, the Caribbean Sea and its beaches were pristine; today, many of them have become a place of mass use.
In addition to the tourists who litter the beaches, there are also enterprises and factories, that dump hundreds of thousands of tons of plastic on the Caribbean islands and ocean every year. As a result, huge waves of plastic waste wash ashore, especially after severe storms.
All these issues combined pose a threat not only to the health of the ocean, but to the millions of people who depend on its resources. The ocean represents food, jobs, and livelihood; and this ignores the income that coastal tourism brings to the region every year.
Naturally, the fight against marine pollution is an environmental, economic, and social precedence. Most of the people of small island nations live within 10 kilometers of the ocean. Marine pollution poses a serious threat to the development of the region and the quality of life of the population.
So how does the Caribbean solve this problem?
Around the Caribbean, there are a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO)and Environmental groups that are trying to tackle these serious issues.
As an example, local NGO Nature Foundation St. Maarten, as part of the EU-funded In-No-Plastic project, is using various social strategies to reduce the use of plastic on the island.
Social strategies presented on St. Maarten include presentations at local schools and community workdays.
Humans and their patterns of production and consumption are changing the state of the marine environment and its ecosystems. Growth of population and economic sectors such as tourism are putting pressure on the marine environment.
The last few years have been successful for this region in terms of ocean and environmental protection. Caribbean governments have achieved the protection of the region's marine resources through cooperation and exchange of experience. For example, various Caribbean governments have implemented regional projects and activities to improve wastewater and solid waste management, as well as to protect coral reefs, mangroves, and marine species. There is also pressure on the governments to implement legislation to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics by introducing legislation to ban certain products or implement tariffs or taxes to try and deter their use.
Raising environmental awareness is critical to this movement to protect the Caribbean and sustain the Caribbean's economy.