World Oceans Day has been observed, in some form or another, since 1992. This year, the overall theme touches on encouraging solutions to plastic pollution, which has driven an industry focus on building awareness around the issue.
It’s with good reason that industry players are turning their gaze off the coast, with 300 billion pieces of plastic in the Arctic, calls to "stop sucking" because so many straws end up offshore and "plastic smog" clouding the waters.
HAPPY WORLD OCEANS DAY! pic.twitter.com/Ps35n1MpE0— World Oceans Day (@WorldOceansDay) June 8, 2017
The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) announced yesterday its Task Force on Marine Litter, chaired by Costas Velis, who represented the group at this week's United Nations Ocean Conference. In a joint statement at the conference, Velis said ISWA wants to work with international stakeholders to eliminate the problem of marine litter.
"Reliable data lets us formulate the right messages for policy making to tackle marine pollution," Velis said in an emailed press release from ISWA.
ISWA’s announcement comes on the heels of The Ocean Cleanup’s release of a report that showed that the problem of marine litter isn’t limited to coastal populations. The organization concluded that inland populations deposit between 1.15 million and 2.4 million metric tons of plastic into the ocean annually.
According to the BBC, China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines reached an informal agreement to "keep plastics out of the seas." Additionally Greenpeace, an international NGO, has gathered over 63,000 signatures on a petition asking European ministers of the environment to get rid of single-use plastics — something that not all players in the waste and plastics industries agree on.
CSIRO, an Australian research organization, is working with countries including China, the United States, Vietnam and South Korea to survey how much waste enters the ocean by using data from coastlines and cities.
"We know that almost all litter starts off in someone’s hand, and form there it finds it s way from land to the ocean, where it breaks up into smaller pieces," Denise Hardesty, a senior scientist with CSIRO said in a press release.
In New York City, the United Nations Ocean Conference is observing World Oceans Day with a show in the General Assembly Hall that will “raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans and highlight the most promising initiatives to reverse their decline," which will stream at this link.
While this list isn’t all-inclusive, it is expected that some companies, groups and individuals to make statements or announce initiatives later today. In the meantime, here’s how some movers and shakers are noting #WorldOceansDay on Twitter: