Today is World Oceans Day which brings people together around the world in celebrating through actions towards protecting our shared oceans which connect us all.
The oceans provide us with so many goods and services that we often take for granted – like regulating climate, providing food to millions of people each year, producing oxygen we need to breathe, providing a source of medicines, and and are a basis of many jobs around the world. Unfortunately, human pressures, including overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas.
“Given how critical oceans are to the health of our planet and the prosperity of people, they are an essential element in our emerging vision for sustainable development, including the new set of sustainable development goals now being prepared to guide the global fight against poverty for the next 15 years” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
What is the Better Bag Challenge?
The Better Bag Challenge is a campaign launched on World Oceans Day this year to help create actions that will eliminate plastic waste entering the oceans and causing devastating marine pollution. The challenge asks people to commit to not buying disposable plastic bags for at least one year.
If you sign up for this challenge, please share your commitment with people publicly on Twitter with the hashtag #BetterBagChallenge (you can include the image below) or reply to this blog and let us know what you’re planning.
What impact do plastics have on the oceans?
According to 5Gyres, ocean animals like fish and turtles eat plastic objects (even tiny micro particles and microbeads of plastic) which accumulate in the oceans and these are often toxic which can make them sick or even kill them, while other plastics may entangle and suffocate ocean animals. There are obvious implications for human health too, as we rely on the oceans for much of our diets.
And according to the World Ocean Day organisers, more than 80% of marine litter comes from land-based sources. Businesses and governments spend millions each year on cleaning up litter. This can all be avoided if we collaborate and work together to stop ocean pollution!