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Aquarium marks World Oceans Day to boost awareness

World Oceans Day is June 8, but the ABQ BioPark Aquarium is extending the celebration over a few days.

“World Oceans Day started not very long ago to get people more aware of our oceans and all the problems connected with it,” said Pamela Dupzyk, education coordinator for the ABQ BioPark Aquarium and Botanic Garden. “So we show movies in the theater about the oceans and a lot of the problems in the oceans like overfishing and plastics. We have a docent station talking about what the cause is for that year, and as well as other things you can do to help protect the ocean.”

This year’s World Oceans Day theme is preventing plastic pollution.

“One of the things that we will be doing is handing out information and asking people to take the plastic challenge to decrease the amount of plastic you use for a week and show you how you can decrease it in one week,” Dupzyk said. “One big way is for us to say no to straws in restaurants or wherever. Don’t use a straw because right now plastic straws are a huge problem and are going into the ocean. It has a huge environmental impact. There are 500 million plastic straws used every day. That is so many (straws).”

Attendees also will learn other easy but significant ways to make a difference, including limiting the use of and recycling plastic bottles and using reuseable bags or paper bags instead of plastic bags.

“Plastic bags go into the water, go into the rivers and waters that feed out to ocean,” Dupzyk said. “The aquatic animals eat them and die because they think they are jellyfish. The plastic bag goes into their stomach and they can’t eat and they die.”

Docents will teach eventgoers about sustainable foods. Guests will receive an informative card from the the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California to help them make the best choices when purchasing seafood. They will also learn about the seafoodwatch.org app, which can help them choose seafood wisely by looking for logos that indicate the product was sustainably raised or fished or making sure overfished seafood such as bluefin tuna is not an ingredient in frozen fish sticks, for example.

A list of good seafood choices can be downloaded at seafoodwatch.org. To learn more about World Oceans Day, visit worldoceansday.org.

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