Plastic pollution is a serious threat to our ocean, putting fragile ecosystems, marine life, economic livelihoods, and human health at risk. Every year we discharge 10 million tons of plastic into the ocean, where they can remain hundreds of years. One study predicts that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans.
Citizens in several European Union (EU) member states will soon be able to learn more about ocean plastic pollution and what they can do to prevent it, thanks to cooperation between the United States, the European Commission, the National Aquarium of Denmark (Den Blå Planet), and NGO Plastic Change. Through this partnership, a public education exhibit first shown in Copenhagen last year will travel to Estonia, Portugal, Malta, Italy and Belgium highlighting EU and US leadership in tackling marine litter. The Italian Government has also prioritised the issue of marine litter under its 2017 G7 Presidency.
With content from scientific expeditions led by NGO Plastic Change, the interactive exhibition raises awareness about plastics pollution, describes the impacts of micro-plastics on the ocean environment, and provides examples of simple actions individuals can take at home.
The fight against plastic pollution is one of the four main themes of the 2017 Our Ocean conference, to be hosted by the EU in Malta on 5-6 October. High-level ocean champions from around the world will gather under the motto “Our Ocean – an Ocean for Life” to underscore the importance of ocean protection and sustainability. Initiated by the United States in 2014, the first three Our Ocean conferences generated commitments valued at over 8 billion euros to protect our ocean and commitments to protect 9.9 million square kilometres of ocean – an area almost the size of Europe.
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