MESSAGE OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY CRISTIANA PAŞCA PALMER on the occasion of WORLD OCEANS DAY 8 June 2018
- 07 Jun
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“Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean”
No matter where we live, every other breath we take comes from the Ocean’s breath – from the oxygen produced by its phytoplankton and its rich marine plant life.1
The Ocean is the source of our life. And its vast depths are home to an even greater diversity of life.
But the Ocean’s breath – and our breath – is increasingly strangled by the plastic pollution that we create.
As much as 70 per cent of marine litter is non-degradable plastic. This material affects every aspect of the ocean and its healthy functioning. Plastics are present in all marine habitats: we find them from just below the ocean surface to all the way down in the seabed. They are present at every level of the food web.2 Each year, plastics kill more than 100,000 marine animals.
From bottles and plastic toys to microplastics, approximately one truckload of plastics ends up in the ocean every minute. And the plastic debris is projected to increase threefold between 2015 and 2025!3
Action to address plastic pollution is gaining momentum. Responding to citizens’ demand, governments are starting to ban plastic bags and straws and to control the use of single use plastic bottles. Responding to consumers’ demand, companies are increasingly pledging that their packaging will be reused, recycled or composted in the near term4. And responding to their communities’ needs, individuals are turning into innovators, transforming plastic debris into things that they need – from the Manchester United soccer team new uniform,5 to India’s local community of women who turn plastic collected by fisherman into materials used to strengthen roads.6
These are great steps that we, as humans, citizens and consumers, take and can start to take. But we need to do more as humanity.