Wednesday, 20 January 2021

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A stranded whale shocks Brussels

Plasticus - #PassOnPlastic

The people of Brussels were shocked to discover a whale outside the European parliament. A sighting of a whale in Brussels would be shocking but what was even more shocking was the fact that the 10m whale is made up of a quarter of a ton of plastic to represent the amount that enters the world's oceans every second. In fact, more than 80% of marine litter is plastics, and each year 8 million tons of plastic waste are being dumped into the world’s oceans.

The plastic problem is also highlighted around the world through various exhibits and campaigns: Plasticus the plastic whale recently visited Brussels on its world tourAnd all around Europe, “Plastic Attacks” have been organised by activists and environmental campaigners who stand ready by the cashier to separate the plastic from customer’s purchases and leave this rubbish in the store - in a peaceful way. These actions have been triggered by an ever increasing amount of videos and footage from seas, oceans and waterways have entered social media, depicting anything from divers to dolphins swimming through a porridge of plastic.

Beach clean ups are being arranged and the Swedish trend of “Plogging”, jogging while collecting garbage, has spread from continent to continent and ploggers can now be found from Belgium to Malaysia or as far as Canada.

“We must work individually and collectively to stop this preventable tragedy and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, including plastic”, says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message for World Oceans Day, celebrated on June 8. “Action starts at home, and speaks louder than words.  The United Nations aims to lead by example, and more than 30 of our agencies have now begun working to end the use of single-use plastic. “

On September 1, 2016 the French government became the first to ban disposable plastic plates, cutlery, and cups, but  the European Union is now following suit. The European Commission in May proposed new EU-wide rules through The Single Use Plastics Directive target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe's beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear. These products are the biggest part of the problem, and together they constitute 70% of all marine litter items.

“You can make a difference today – and every day -- by doing simple things like carrying your own water bottle, coffee cup and shopping bags, recycling the plastic you buy, avoiding products that contain microplastics and volunteering for a local clean-up”, says Guterres. “If we all do a little, our combined actions can be massive. On this World Oceans Day, I urge governments, communities and individuals alike to celebrate our oceans by helping clear them of pollution and ensure they remain vibrant for generations to come.”

In December 2017, 193 countries vowed to eliminate plastic pollution in the sea during the Environment Assembly in Nairobi, a move some delegates hope would pave the way to a legally binding treaty. The United Nations have declared war on plastic pollution in our oceans through the Clean Seas campaign, which is strongly supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Join the global movement to #BeatPollution for #CleanSeas!


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