The Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and the Fishnet Alliance have stressed the need for individual and collective efforts to end plastic pollution.
In a statement made available to EnviroNews on Monday, June 4, 2018, the organisations emphasised that the environment is endowed with elements of life, support and sustenance. The oceans which cover about 71% of the Earth’s surface, and contain 97% of the planet’s water, carry in them plethora of essential ingredients that supports our weather, plants, seafood and humans, they added.
The themes for this year’s World Environment Day and World Ocean Day centre on beating plastic pollution and, according to HOMEF and Fishnet, thus serve as a wakeup call for mankind to take prompt actions to protect the environment and by extension human lives.
HOMEF Director, Nnimmo Bassey, stated that plastics out of sight do not mean plastics out of life as many think when they trash plastic materials.
His words: “Tons of these materials end up in the gutters, rivers oceans. 15 tons of plastics are said to end up in the ocean every minute with more than eight million tons being dumped in every year. An incredible one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals lose their lives to plastic pollution yearly.
“If this menace continues then we will definitely have more plastics than fish in our oceans and water bodies in years to come. Already, plastics have been found in more than 60% of all seabirds and in all sea turtles species that mistake plastic for food.
“We must learn to reject plastics and not just aim to reduce, reuse or recycle them. It is time to tackle this threat at source. It is time to terminate this plastic civilisation.”
Stephen Oduware, project officer at HOMEF, added that, in the midst of a multitude of pollutants offshore, oil and plastics are the most insidious and injurious. He underlined the need to clean up the oceans to help sustain the lives of the aquatic creatures and other life forms that depend on these water bodies for survival.
He said: “We have a collective duty to protect this awesome wonder of life from being turned into a dumping ground for plastics. Plastics cannot be digested by these fishes. Other sea creatures are not left untouched; sea turtles, seal and sea lions, sea birds, dolphins, whales, and all other life forms that depend on the ocean and its biodiversity for survival are all affected negatively. More so, plastics are not easily degradable. They float around in the oceans and other water bodies for hundreds of years. It is expedient that we take all necessary actions to beat this pollution and at all cost.”
HOMEF and the FishNet Alliance thus called on governments, diplomats, and everyone at all levels, to beat plastic pollution, adding that mankind should brace-up to reverse the situation, “else our fishes will be replaced by plastics and humans will be left in want”.
The groups also called for concerted efforts to phase out the exploration of fossil fuels from which majority of plastic materials are produced.
They want plastic bags and polystyrene foams banned, and paper made bags should be used in eateries and superstores rather than plastic bags.
“A lot more should be done to sensitise the public on the negative impacts of plastic pollution. The time to beat plastic pollution is now,” said the duo.