Healthy oceans – happy planet
The 2017 theme for World Oceans Day is “Our Oceans, Our Future”, with the focus on encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for healthier oceans and a better future for the planet.
According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, plastic and synthetic materials are the most common types of waste found in our oceans.
At least 267 different types of marine species, they say, are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of these materials; these include seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish.
In 2016 Durban beaches were closed off after they were found to be polluted with medical waste which had washed up onto the shores of numerous beaches in the Kwazulu-Natal area.
During the 2015 International Coastal Clean-up Day in East London, a total of 16 141 volunteers collected over 109 000 litter items over just 77 kilometres of coastline.
It is vital that communities use World Oceans Day to raise awareness about the problem of plastic litter – to encourage the public to recycle plastic and to make a conscious decision not to pollute our waters.