Every year, 10 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean. If we do not act, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Let's join the World Cleanup Day movement.
The Woman Post | Diana Sedano Valdes
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Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed, once again, that the world is coming to an end if our system does not change. According to the most recent and complete report in history on this matter, even if we have seen progress to prevent climate change during the last years, the taken measures are not enough. After analyzing more than 14,000 scientific studies, the results show that for 2030 our planet’s temperature will anyways increase +1,5°C which will influence the rise of climate disasters.
The consequences in Latin America are alarming as the region shows an increase in temperatures and sea levels above the global average. Oceans and beaches are in danger and actions must be taken now. We can still avoid the point of no return if the main global economic actors reduce their CO2 emissions in a half for 2030 and reach zero net emissions before 2050. Oceans are not only at risk because of climate-related drivers; human-induced habitat degradation of oceans and coastal ecosystems is the main issue too. The adverse effects from human activities have been causing coastal ecosystems that are diminishing their ability to adapt to climate-induced changes and provide ecosystem services. This means that our actions are nonsensical against us, as saltmarshes, mangroves, vegetated dunes, and sandy beaches act as protective barriers to other ecosystems.
Human-induced habitat degradation includes the global plastic crisis generated over the years, putting oceans at high risk. The World Sustainability Organization and Friends of the Sea are promoting World Cleanup Day on September 18 to keep our planet clean through sustainable practices. We should be aware when 10 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, polluting the water, and killing marine life. At least one million marine animals are killed every year because of plastic pollution. Although campaigns of awareness have increased in the last decades, our waste footprint has not decreased. We produce more than 350 million tons of plastic every year, of which approximately 50% is for single-use purposes. Oceans are extremely affected when more than 30% of the plastic packaging goes there. Coastal cities are not the main producers; big cities that are not on the coast are polluting their rivers which are later carrying these plastics to the sea. If we don’t act, in 2050, we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean.
Civil society organizations have become key actors in protecting our environment. Cleanup activities contribute to protecting at least one million animals in danger. For example, 17.6 million people in 157 countries are aware of this crisis and participate in World Cleanup Day every year since 2018. Companies are the main responsible actors in this crisis, followed by tourists and beachgoers. They should join the World Cleanup Day movement and obtain sustainable beach standards certifications. The World Sustainability Organization delivers these to encourage companies in promoting environmental awareness, proper waste disposal, ban of single-use plastics, water quality, and respect for the natural ecosystems.
Let’s participate in cleanup days every day to preserve our ecosystems and be safe before 2050. Go to the Friend of the Sea website for more information.