Home Publisher's Point of View Many Good Reasons to Mark World Oceans Day on June 8

Many Good Reasons to Mark World Oceans Day on June 8

Glenn Hasek

World Oceans Day is an international day that takes place annually on June 8. The concept was originally proposed in 1992. No matter where your hotel happens to be—even in Death Valley—consider the plight of the oceans on June 8. According to Conservation International, each year by weight, three times more trash is dumped into the ocean than fish caught, a third of the world’s wild fisheries are overexploited or depleted, and in the past 40 years, populations of marine species have been cut in half. (Perhaps you should plan an event to raise awareness about the ocean’s plight on or around June 8?)

I thought about the oceans and World Oceans Day during a chat I had this past week with Michelle Liu, Senior Vice President of Marine and Water Park Operations at Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas. Look for my article based on my conversation with Michelle soon.

If you did not know, Atlantis Paradise Island is home to the world’s largest open-air marine habitat. Michelle oversees that habitat and spearheads the resort’s mission to protect the ocean, which is done through a number of on-site educational programs that help fund the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, the resort’s nonprofit organization dedicated to saving sea species and their habitats throughout The Bahamas and surrounding Caribbean seas.

Michelle helps to curate the guest experiences that help fund the foundation—experiences such as snorkeling in the Ruins Lagoon, home to more than 20,000 deep reef and pelagic fish. The Lagoon is 2.7 million gallons large! That is just one example of many of the experiences guests can book to help raise funds for the Foundation. Paradise Island encompasses 14 lagoons, eight million gallons of ocean water and more than 50,000 aquatic animals representing over 250 marine species. Very impressive.

A Little History

When I was a kid, like many of you, I used to watch the Merv Griffin Show. Merv’s show ran for nine years. Merv was also the owner of Resorts International, the precursor to what eventually blossomed into Atlantis Paradise Island. Sol Kerzner purchased the company from Merv and $800 million later Atlantis was born. It was during Kerzner’s build-up of Atlantis from 1994 to 1998 that the world’s largest open-air marine habitat was constructed. Further phases of development included additional wildlife habitat and education facilities.

Back to World Oceans Day

When I think of World Oceans Day I think of plastic. According to the Oceanic Society, plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to ocean health worldwide. With skyrocketing plastic production, ineffective recycling, and poor waste management, between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year—enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet. And that amount is projected to triple by 2040.

While many commitments have been made, our industry can do a much better job eliminating single-use plastic. Really, with all that we know, should plastic water (or soda) bottles still be given or sold to guests? Or, individual amenity bottles? Or utensils?

If you have plans for World Ocean Day, contact me. I would love to learn about your plans. I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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