Marine Biologist Zoe Lisk believes that more education about environmental issues is needed. She spoke with Barbados TODAY on the backdrop of commemorating the 51st anniversary of Earth Day.
Lisk noted that small, everyday changes can go a long way in restoring our earth if everyone chips in.
“I would like to see people learn more about their impact. I think people’s points of view change when they are taught about how it [the environment] impacts us. Having classes available or programmes available on TV where you talk about it in a fun way and explain to people how it impacts them . . . If you target the younger children, it is going to have an influence on the parents as well,” she stressed.
The consulting coordinator at the Coral Reef Restoration Alliance shared that reef-safe sunscreen is a highly recommended alternative to the traditional sunscreen that is harmful to reefs and contains the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals can kill and damage corals and can bleach and destroy the symbiotic relationship between zooxanthellae and corals and increases the risk of viral infections.
Other changes the marine biologist recommends are taking your own metal bottles, straws, forks, etc. when going to work, school, and other places. She also noted that plastic toothbrushes are another common culprit that people hardly think of and recommended wooden or bamboo toothbrushes that are readily available in some supermarkets and pharmacies.
Having more plants around or starting a kitchen garden is another one of Lisk’s recommendations. She sees it as a plus for the environment as well as a money-making and money-saving venture.
Lisk, who holds a Master’s in Tropical Marine Biology from the University of Essex, shared her concerns about the volcanic ash from the La Soufriere Volcanic eruption that has been affecting Barbados.
“When the volcanic ash gets into the marine ecosystem, it introduces nutrients such as iron and other things depending on the volcano location. You would get increasing acidity and nutrients, which will result in blooms. You would get things like sedimentation which would reduce visibility because of the dust particles in the water, which would have an impact on corals. It can smother the corals; the abrasion on the corals can agitate them as well. Some corals are able to handle abrasion better than others, so you may get some loss of coral cover. You also get algae blooms, which is not good for corals,” she explained to Barbados TODAY.
She encourages Barbadians to continue to collect the ash when they are cleaning instead of washing it down, as the ash that is washed down will eventually make its way into the sea and have an adverse effect on marine life.