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Without the ocean we are dead in the water.
Knowing the crucial role the ocean plays in our existence, SAAMBR’s conservation strategist, Judy Mann-Lang said “change starts with ourselves” at the launch of Operation Clean Sweep and celebration of World Oceans Day at Ushaka Sea World on Thursday morning.
“I know most of us have suffered from bouts of ecodepression, but through World Oceans Day (started in 2002) we hope to celebrate and communicate the importance of oceans,” said Mann-Lang.
“We are a blue planet with 70,8% of the earth being ocean.
“Our climate is regulated by the ocean.
“Every second or third breath you take is thanks to the little phytoplankton in the water.
“The ocean absorbs nearly one third of CO2 emission.
“The list goes on, yet we have lost almost half of all fish and rays in the ocean over last 42 years and tropical reefs have lost more than half of their building corals over the last 30 years.”
To try curb some of the devastation and get people to care about the life under the big, blue blanket, SAAMBRA, Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) and Ushaka Sea World have partnered with Plastics SA and Sasol to find ways to help the environment.
“Our Me to the Sea theme tries to help people see that what we do impacts the oceans.
“Lowering use of electricity, car pooling, choice of sea food, recycling, saying no to straws and using less are easy ways to help make a different.
“It is a choice we each make to live consciously and think – am I going to do the right thing or am I doing what is convenient?”
Plastics SA director of sustainability, Douw Steyn said Operation Clean Sweep ties in with this theme, as it is mobilising the plastics industry to take ownership and responsibility for the environment.
“We have developed a global plastic alliance and signed a declaration in 2011 to pledge that we will do something about marine plastic pollution.
“Operation Clean Sweep targets the micro plastics issue, by stopping plastic pellets, flakes and powder loss on the shop floor which is them swept into the drain and ends in the ocean.
“To do so, we have put programmes, pledges and the installation of pellet traps in drains in place.”