The 5th International Marine Debris Conference just finished in Honolulu. The fact that there is an annual international conference on trash in the Ocean should tell you the problem is serious and the solution, or solutions, will not be easy to fix this huge problem. There is a solution and probably more than one, but it will take a global effort to work together, one day at a time where the actions of each individual will matter. The time to think about how we dispose of our trash, our garbage, our plastic. This IS a call to action. It’s not just me that wants a change, there is an entire delegate that attended the conference who feel the same way as well as thousands of other people around the world. I’ve included the newsletter from Project AWARE’ Science and Policy Advisor, Ania Budziak that inspired me to write this call to action!:
Personally, trash has never really been the ocean issue closest to my heart. Armed with my graduate degree in applied ecology and public affairs, I never imagined I’d be toiling over rubbish – literally hundreds of thousands of marine debris items – found on the ocean floor. Or fretting over cigarette butts, plastic bits and fishing line found in our favorite dive sites.
Even so, what I’ve discovered is quite inspiring and nothing short of amazing. Check out the International Cleanup Day Snapshot for 2010, detailing the global debris removal and data collection efforts of scuba diving volunteers in more than 660 locations.
As I sit aboard my return flight from Honolulu, Hawaii, where I presented, learned and contributed to the global plan of action at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference, I reflect on our global ocean in crisis and the passionate groups of AWARE divers around the world that I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside. And I ask you to support a clean, healthy ocean for the future.
During the conference, it became very clear that together, our actions are making a significant contribution to the global marine debris prevention effort. And I was so proud to share this with policy leaders during the conference.
Over the last 18 years, Project AWARE has partnered with scuba divers in more than 100 countries to collect data, remove and prevent marine debris underwater. As Project AWARE nears its organizational re-launch, World Oceans Day, 8th June 2011, marine debris is at the core of our new ocean protection strategies, and we’ll push for marine debris solutions – a key ocean issue affecting species, health and economies around the world.
The Honolulu Strategy, a global action plan for the prevention, reduction and management of marine debris, is currently in progress. This Strategy and other conference outcomes will help propel us towards meaningful and global marine debris solutions.
I have to say, the issue of marine debris today, is now very close to my heart. That’s why I’m proud to be part of our community of AWARE divers and advocates, joining together to make change.
Science and Policy Officer
Project AWARE Foundation