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18 April 2024

Keep plastics out of oceans


The UN Environment Programme, UNEP, has cautioned that there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050 unless people stop using single-use plastic items such as plastic bags and plastic bottles, commented a UAE daily.

That’s not all, according to some estimates, at the rate people are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and an estimated 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.

"The warning should be taken seriously as the subject could have a major negative impact on every human being," said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Sunday.

As per UN estimates, in 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tonnes of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 300 million tonnes of plastic – with severe consequences for marine plants and animals.

The paper went on to say, "Such figures are startling and should be seen as a wake-up call for remedial action.

"In February the UN Environment organisation launched an unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: microplastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022.

"Launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali, the #CleanSeas campaign urges governments to pass plastic reduction policies, target industry to minimise plastic packaging and redesign products and calls on consumers to change their throwaway habits before irreversible damage is done to our seas.

"As part of the campaign, Indonesia has committed to slash its marine litter by 70 percent by 2025; Uruguay will tax single-use plastic bags this year and Kenya has agreed to eliminate them entirely.

"Though the Clean Seas campaign has achieved some important wins for the oceans, Petter Malvik, UN Environment Programme’s Communications Officer, points out that the job is far from done.

"The idea is to achieve a global ban by 2022 on microbeads in personal care and cosmetic products and a drastic reduction in the use of single-use plastic.

"In 2013, scientists were surprised to find the seas east of Greenland and north of Scandinavia are a dead-end for plastics. Some seas in that region are said to be heavily polluted with plastic because of an Atlantic ocean current which dumps debris there.

"The reckless dumping of plastic in the oceans should stop as it wreaks havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism and the damage to marine ecosystems is immense," concluded the Sharjah-based daily.