[Press release] This month, Saint Lucia joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Oceans Day.
The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more!
For Saint Lucia, the ocean and coastal resources are significant, providing food, sustaining ecosystems and biodiversity, offering opportunities for trade, transport and communication, and supporting tourism and recreation. In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it is imperative that we take the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us.
Minister for Sustainable Development, the Honourable Dr. Gale Rigobert supports this, echoing that “We must continue to promote the sustainable use of oceans resources, and to take advantage of the opportunities for the successful implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) which addresses ‘life below water’”. This will build on the national commitment to join the UNEP Clean Seas Campaign, and the previous commitment to tackle ocean pollution at the national level.”
World Oceans Day, commemorated every year on June 8, is recognised by the United Nations as a day of celebration and action to protect the ocean. World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community by highlighting the impacts of human actions on the ocean, with the hope of encouraging sustainable ocean management.
This year, the theme for World Oceans Day is “Clean Our Ocean”, and a special effort is being made to stop plastic pollution.
Worldwide, there is a movement to reduce the amount of waste produced, and to raise awareness on the steps that can be taken on an individual basis to effectively reduce waste. This can translate into encouraging commitments to protect and sustainably manage our marine and coastal resources, in keeping with sustainable development principles and the aim of conserving for future generations.
Our ocean has a great wealth of resources and supports diverse kinds of life, but it’s in trouble!! There are important, easy actions each of us can take to prevent plastic pollution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean. Start with some of these:
Educate yourself about Oceans and Marine Life – the more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health. Share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.
Use less plastic. Avoid the use of plastic bags and any unnecessary plastic packaging. Plastic marine debris is severely threatening the health of all marine life! Start by carrying a reusable water bottle, using a reusable shopping bag, avoiding single-use plastic products, and reusing disposable food containers to store other food and household items.
Dispose of waste properly – Over 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Most waste thrown inland eventually makes its way to the sea. Rivers and seas are not dumpsites for things you no longer need, like old appliances and furniture.
Properly dispose of cigarette butts, the top item collected at International Coastal Cleanup drives globally.
Take care of the beach – clean up after yourself and participate in beach cleanup activities. Pick up trash whenever you see it.
Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you.
Reduce toxic household pollutants – Everything you put down the drain, into your washing machine, and on your lawn could eventually end up in the ocean. Try using natural products such as plain soap, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice when cleaning outside and inside your home.
Don’t encourage targeted exploitation of marine organisms by purchasing items that use marine life (for example, coral jewellery, tortoiseshell accessories, shark products, etc.)
Support organisations working to protect the ocean by volunteering or giving financial aid.
Consume more invasive species such as lionfish that cause imbalances in the ecosystem
Engage in responsible cleanup of Sargassum seaweed by not using equipment that damages protective beach habitat and organisms therein (sea turtle eggs, crabs)