United Nations, New York, USA, June 08 2018 – Photographer Chris Jordan during a panel discussion held on the occasion of World Oceans Day. The discussion highlighted the important roles of youth and innovation in addressing solutions towards cleaning our oceans today at the UN Headquarters in New York City.
Photos: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
by Kurt Wheelock
When the United Nations celebrated World Oceans Day on June 8 there were speeches but also a presentation by Parley about how ocean plastic is being used to make athletic shoes, credit cards and even luxury brand sunglasses.
In an event attended by former UN President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson of Fiji, Parley showed photographs of beaches covered in plastic waste. While officials like Secretary General Antonio Guterres have committed this week to phase out the use of plastic water bottles, Parley says that is not enough. The existing plastic waste out there in the ocean must be dealt with and must be re-used. It is a revolution.
Current President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak at the World Oceans Day reception at the UN said, “The way we are living is destroying our oceans. We are producing one million plastic bottles every minute. And the vast majority – in fact a staggering 91% – are not recycled. Actually, half of our plastics are thrown away, after just one use. And, when you stop and think about these numbers…it is no wonder that 13 million tonnes of plastics end up in our oceans, every year. And, it is not hard to see why, by 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean, than fish.”
Parley showed photographs of beaches entirely covered with plastic detritus. They say, Plastic was good to us, but plastic has got to go. New designs are being sought.
The UN’s envoy on oceans Peter Thomson says said, “the Ocean has shaped my life, from the time of my beginnings in the outer islands of Fiji to my appointment last year as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean. Like millions of others before me, taking sustenance and succor from Neptune’s world, we know there is so much for which we should give thanks. And yet, over the intervening decades of my life, a quickening cycle of decline has been brought upon the health of the Ocean by the ever-accumulating effects of harmful human activities. The Ocean covers half the Earth’s surface, is the planet’s largest biosphere and is home to over 80% of life on Earth. The Ocean generates 50% of the Earth’s oxygen, and absorbs 25% of all CO2 emissions and 90% of the additional heat generated from those emissions, making it the largest carbon sink on the planet. But now the Ocean is in trouble and needs our help. 85% of global fish stocks are either overexploited or fully exploited; warming seas are causing widespread destruction of coral reefs and changing the nature of life in the ocean. $23 billion worth of fish is being illegally caught every year, ending up as stolen goods on our dinner plates, while 100 million sharks are killed each year just for their fins, causing great disturbance to the Ocean’s ecosystem. Rates of acidification and deoxygenation are continuing to rise, putting further stress on life below the surface. All the while we pollute our coasts and our Ocean blue with unconscionable levels of pollution, led by the plague of marine plastic pollution.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who committed this week to no longer use plastic water bottles in his office on the UN’s 38th floor, said that “On this World Oceans Day, we are highlighting the problem of plastic pollution. Eighty per cent of all pollution in the sea comes from land, including some 8 million tons of plastic waste each year. It chokes waterways, harms communities that depend on fishing and tourism, kills turtles and birds, whales and dolphins, and finds its way to the most remote areas of the planet and throughout the food chain on which we ultimately rely. Unless we change course, plastic waste could soon outweigh all the fish in the oceans.
We must work individually and collectively to stop this preventable tragedy and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, including plastic. Action starts at home, and speaks louder than words. The United Nations aims to lead by example, and more than 30 of our agencies have now begun working to end the use of single-use plastic.
But everyone needs to play a part. You can make a difference today – and every day — by doing simple things like carrying your own water bottle, coffee cup and shopping bags, recycling the plastic you buy, avoiding products that contain microplastics and volunteering for a local clean-up.”
And Parley is doing that and more.