Sunday, 11 June 2017

UN Ocean Conference >>> a 'game-changer' in cutting plastic pollution

Plastic pollution is pretty big:
Futures Forum: There will soon be more plastic than fish in the sea
Futures Forum: What's your plastic footprint? ...

The United Nations is leading the campaign:
Futures Forum: Campaign to eliminate plastics from the sea

It has just wrapped up a conference:
The Ocean Conference | 5-9 June 2017
U.N.: Climate Change, Pollution Threatening Oceans | Time.com

UN oceans summit brings unprecedented show of Ocean unity

Tom Bawden  Friday June 9th 2017

The future looks much brighter for the world’s oceans after a United Nations summit agreed a flurry of actions to tackle the crisis in our seas.

Delegates and campaigners hailed the meeting as a potential game-changer as world leaders pledged to clamp down on plastic river pollution in East Asia, protect crucial barrier reefs and reduce the spread of contaminated water leaking from the ballast of giant tankers.

Unprecedented show of ocean unity

The week-long summit in New York, which finished yesterday, brought an unprecedented show of global unity around the need to tackle the crisis in the oceans, as pollution, climate change and melting ice wreak havoc on coastal communities and marine life around the world, they say.

However, they cautioned that only time well tell how effectively the clear intent to deal with the problem will translate into meaningful action.

“This has been the biggest demonstration of interest in protecting our oceans – the biggest commitment to action. It’s really good, everybody is doing something,” said Andrew Hudson, head of the water and ocean governance progamme at the United Nations Development Programme.

“Of course the issue now is whether people do what they say they are going to do when they get home? But the good thing is that in many cases these are firm commitments,” he added.

Greenpeace Nordic oceans campaigner Frida Bengtsson said this week’s summit has the potential to galvanise support for our seas in the way that a United Nations conference did for battle against climate change in 2014.

“This conference could well be like Ban Ki Moon’s summit on climate change, which ignited more climate change – but it is too early to tell,” she said.

The actions agreed at the conference include an agreement to cut the amount of ‘alien’ bacteria and other organisms that are discharged into the ocean when ships release ballast water or species fall off their hull. These ‘invasive’ organisms can cause significant harm to the environment and are regarded as one of the biggest threats to the ocean.

Other actions include a pledge to cut the volume of plastic debris traveling along rivers in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Phillipines, Indonesia and Thailand – much of which ends up in the sea.

Mauritian coral reefs

Protection for one hundred coral colonies in the blue bay lagoon in Mauritius and the first proper waste disposal facility for the fishing villages of Pangkor Island in Malaysia are among the other projects agreed.

The encouraging UN summit wasn’t the only good news for the oceans this week.

In the UK, the Women’s Institute is calling on the government and industry to tackle plastic clothing pollution after its members backed a proposal to do what they can reduce the volume of harmful microplastics used in synthetic clothing.

Nylon, acrylic, spandex and polyester fibres are finding their way into the oceans in enormous quantities.


Meanwhile, scientists from the University of Bath announced they had come up with a way to turn waste plant fibres from agriculture and paper manufacturing into biodegradable microbeads.

These could replace the harmful plastic microbeads in a wide range of products from make-up to house paint, scientists claim.

Tiny plastic beads are widely used to roughen products such as toothpaste and face scrubs, causing significant damage to the environment because they can take hundreds of years to breakdown.

UN oceans summit brings unprecedented show of Ocean unity - The i newspaper online iNews 

See also:
Futures Forum: What's your plastic footprint? ... What's your nerdle count?.
Futures Forum: Campaign to >>> Bring back bottle deposits to stop plastic pollution in our oceans > gathering pace
Futures Forum: Saving the oceans from plastic pollution >>> banning micobeads

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