Plastic Ocean or Pacific Ocean?

Pacific islands will be amplifying their voice at the United Nations Ocean Conference at the UN Headquarters in New York in June, focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life Below Water.

This Pacific Conversation raises the issue of the impact of Marine Debris upon our waters providing you with more information to help make a difference in our region.

Did you know about a third of ship waste is just dumped at sea? That's like saying one of every three bags of rubbish is just tossed overboard. But throwing it 'away' doesn't make it go away, especially if it's plastic.

A hundred years ago, plastics barely existed. Today, most marine debris is plastic. This emerging threat hurts wildlife, changes ecosystems, and can hurt us as well. Plastics have been found in the guts of fish that we eat.

Plastics have been found in phytoplankton, which produce almost half of the oxygen we breathe. Plastic is everywhere.

In the ocean, plastics break down into small pieces, and those tiny pieces are like magnets for toxic compounds and heavy metals.

 When marine animals eat those plastics, which look like food, the toxins build up in their bodies. Eventually, we'll be eating those toxins too.

Tuna from the Pacific Ocean feeds the world, yet research shows that some fishing vessels still dump their waste at sea, hurting the tuna that they are trying to catch.

Plastic seems cheap. But plastic comes at a cost, one we'll be paying off for years, and that our children will pay for as well.

Buying less plastic means less pressure to get rid of it. When you refuse a straw, say no to a plastic bag, buy package-free, or demand fishing vessels to stop dumping their rubbish overboard, you are saving the ocean—and saving us too.