The Philippine government has joined the urgent global call for countries to address the world’s massive plastic wastes that continue to pollute the oceans.
In the June 8 observance of World Oceans Day, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, pointed out that for many Pinoys, the sea is livelihood and life for them. “We are a people of water, we’re a maritime and an archipelagic country, with more than half of our population, living and making a living in coastal zones,” he added.
Locsin said the threat of the loss of the oceans and its boundaries “are not just existential in the broad sense, rather they are day-to-day crisis that spell out how much of a decent life is at all possible.”
In his message during the event, Locsin reaffirmed Manila’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goal No. 14, which seeks to protect marine biodiversity.
“SDG 14 tells us to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources. To this end, we must stop the scourge of marine plastic pollution, protect marine biodiversity, especially in areas beyond national jurisdiction,” he stressed.
Locsin said collective action for the ocean is needed now more than ever amid the “unprecedented, barely understood threats” to it on top of climate change and global warming.
Apart from microplastics and mismanaged coastal development, he said, “regional disputes also impact the world’s oceans with artificial island-building and drilling activities devastating coral reefs and pushing marine ecosystems over the brink”.
According to the United Nations, oceans cover more than 70% of the earth and produces at least 50% of the world’s oxygen. To date, 90% of big fish populations have been depleted and at least 50% of coral reefs have been destroyed.
“We need to work together to create a new balance with the ocean that no longer depletes its bounty but instead restores its vibrancy and brings it new life,” the UN said.
The theme “Revitalization: collective action for the ocean” bannered this year’s World Oceans Day observance.