PLASTIC POLLUTION - Tackling ocean plastic is a United Nations agenda for sustainable use of the oceans and conservation of marine life.



The first World Oceans Day was held in 1992 when the oceans were very different from today. The oceans were less acidic because less carbon dioxide had dissolved into them. They were a little cooler because the atmosphere was cooler. More large predatory fish like tunas and sharks existed, because they were less overfished. Tens of millions of tons less plastic was adrift. Oceans even had more oxygen.

Yet even in 1992, the ocean had problems. Miles-long high-seas driftnets had just been banned but were still used illegally. Marine animals such as sea turtles, dolphins, and seabirds died in nets and longlines. The Newfoundland cod fishery had collapsed. Illegal dumping of trash and toxic waste was rampant. Oil was cheap, and pumping and shipping was causing spills and leaks. Shorelines on the southern coast of Alaska, were still drenched in sticky black crude from the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. Coastlines ecosystems were being bulldozed at rapid rates to make room for trendy high-rises and beachside communities.

Since 1992, the world has allowed some of the oceans’ problems to worsen. But other problems have improved thanks to the work of many.



Happy World Oceans Day youth girls with banner



World Oceans Day is meant to highlight all of this, the good and the bad. It’s meant to rally support for actions to help oceans recover from problems it faces now, but also to celebrate progress in repairing human harms to the seas.


This World Oceans Day, we join in the call for everyone to act for the oceans in three specific ways: We must prevent expansion of offshore drilling, we must end plastic pollution, and we need to make our coastlines more resilient. No boundaries can work against global warming, plastic pollution, oil spills, ocean acidification and coastal destruction. That’s why everyone - even those living far from the coasts - is needed to help the oceans.





Here’s an overview of those three issues and how you can take action to help address them:


Offshore drilling

Trump’s Interior Department now plans to expand oil and gas drilling in 90 percent of U.S. waters, even as 60 percent of voters say they oppose the plan. In an attempt to protect their coastlines from probable harm, many states affected by Trump’s drilling plans have applied for exemptions to the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s proposed Draft Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program, hoping to keep oilrigs out of their coastal waters. Send letters to your elected representatives or the Department of Interior directly.





Plastic pollution

Scientists estimate that the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by the year 2050. Why? Humans are using more single-use plastic products - like packaging, bags, bottles and utensils - now than ever before. Marine animals are consuming plastic debris at unprecedented rates, especially tiny pieces of broken-up plastic called microplastic that often contain toxins.

You can combat Earth’s growing plastic pollution problem by recycling and by looking for innovative new materials made from ecologically benign materials - such as algae, hemp and vegetable starches - that can begin to replace plastics




WOD EASTBOURNE - Gonzalo Alvarez is a Marine Biologist and member of the UNA Bexhill and Hastings branch. He spoke at the World Ocean Day event at Meads in Eastbourne as part of a presentation by the Youth Ocean Action group and Brighton University. He is also helping to organise a bigger event in Hastings in September 2018, at the St Mary in the Castle venue.




WOD EASTBOURNE - Andrew Stuart speaking enthusiastically at the World Ocean Day event in Eastbourne, courtesy of Brighton University, on behalf of Youth Ocean Action. Andrew is an ex fireman doing his best to light the fuse on plastic awareness and other conservation issues.



Coastal resilience

More than 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 miles of a coastline. But instead of building more on coasts where communities are vulnerable to increasingly severe storms and flooding, we recommend dune protection, enhancement of wetland habitats and the creation of oyster reefs to help dampen the impacts of storms.

You can support coastal resilience projects by voting for policymakers and policies that back coastal conservation efforts, instead of more and more-risky development.

We’ve made a lot of progress. But we acknowledge that we still have a long way to go.



World Oceans Day





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