The Philippine government has joined the urgent call to address the world’s massive plastic waste that continues to pollute the oceans.
“For many Filipinos, the sea is livelihood and life for all Filipinos as a nation it is our definition as such. We are a people of water, we’re a maritime and archipelagic country, with more than half our population, living and making a living in coastal zones,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on the celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8.
“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,” he added.
In his message, Locsin also reaffirmed Manila’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goal No. 14, which sought 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 said.
The top diplomat agreed that 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, Locsin 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”.
The ocean covers over 70 percent of the planet and produces at least 50 percent of the earth’s oxygen.
To date, 90 percent of big fish populations have been depleted and at least 50 percent of coral reefs destroyed, according to the United Nations.
“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 international organization said.
“Revitalization: collective action for the ocean” is this year’s theme for World Oceans Day. (PNA)