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Combating Plastic Pollution this Oceans Day

A healthy ocean requires robust global knowledge of ocean science. We cannot manage what we cannot measure, and no single country is able to measure the myriad changes taking place in the ocean. – Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO

The serene waters, the soothing blue and welcome splash of waves, Oceans take in all the good and bad in its belly. It is the last resort for humanity, just where it all started. Oceans are where life first formed on this planet. It is the real ‘Cradle of Life’. But, what Irina Boskova said about our Oceans is a blaring wake up call for all the earthlings.

As humans, we were meant to possess the intellect and the ability to safeguard the planet but instead, we are set to do everything possible to degrade it. Plastic Pollution has rendered our oceans inhospitable. Plastic is like an epidemic and each person can relate to it. However, the big question is, “where does all this plastic go?”

While some is recycled, some thrown into landfills and some is thrown loosely into the streets or our immediate environment, the loosely disposed plastic usually ends up into our waterways. Most of this plastic is found floating in the ocean waters most especially in Indian Ocean where a lot of plastic is disposed in its waters.

This plastic doesn’t degrade. Did you know that out of all the plastic that was every made, 97% of it still exists? As unbelievable as it sounds, it’s true to the last word. Our lack of empathy and awareness towards solving this problem has led this to grow out of proportion. Be it festivals or any other normal weekend, all the plastics that people residing at the coast makes way into the oceans. And this is not the problem in India only. With every wave, plastic waste from different coastlines is transported across oceans and dumped into lowland beaches.

Take for example, the Versova Beach in Mumbai. Versova beach is geographically formed in such a way that all the water (filled with plastic wastes) from the nearby creeks and rivers is deposited on the Versova beach. The once serene beach gradually turned into a giant garbage dump.

The Largest Beach Clean-Up in the World – Versova Beach Cleanup

Afroz Shah, a lawyer by profession, a Mumbaikar and an ocean-lover at heart took it upon himself to clean the beach that he would everyday watch getting degraded. One led to two and two led to more than 200. The Versova Resident’s Volunteer Committee came together. It was a massive goal, but the residents are taking it as their moral responsibility to clean it. And the results are up for everyone to see.

https://youtu.be/HEnaEqan7FI

Why Do We Need Cleanup Drives?

Cleanup drives like these are not a weekend project. It is not a moral science class. These cleanup drives are for each of us to take a hard look at ourselves and acknowledge that it is indeed our own doing. To reiterate the cause, the effect and the solution for Plastic Pollution, we had a chat with Marine Ecologist, Dr. Deepak Apte. Dr. Apte is the Director of Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai. A scientist, a nature lover and a Mumbaikar at heart, Dr. Apte stresses on the fact that, it is our mindset, that needs changing to solve this problem. Check out our interaction with Dr. Apte.

Video Excerpts:

  • When this plastic started coming on the shore in huge quantum then we realise that there is something wrong with our habits.
  • We are very careless when it comes to disposing waste
  • There is far more plastic present in the form of plastic/ silicone beads that is harmful
  • Plastic pollution is responsible for the mortality of a large number of mammals
  • Lack of education is not the problem, it is the lack of intent to contribute
  • An enforcement mechanism is missing that keeps track of activities of ships when they are offshore
  • Monitoring is essential when the ships are offshore to check for environmentally degrading activities

Watch the entire interaction here:

Hashtags – #moreoceanlessplastic, #OceanCleanup, #trashfreeseas, #SaveourOcean

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