Stop Marine Plastic Pollution

Target: Amadou Teliivel Diallo, Chair Commissioner of the International Whaling Commission

Goal: Develop an actionable blueprint to curb marine plastic pollution.

The impact of plastic debris on marine fauna was discussed as a ‘priority concern’ at the 68th conference of the International Whaling Commission (IWC68) held in Slovenia. The member countries adopted a resolution expressing their solidarity to develop an internationally binding agreement on this matter. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported in 2021 that every year at least 14 million tons of plastic is deposited in the oceans. The IWC is primarily invested in improving the cetacean life cycle in the oceans to maintain the integrity of the global whaling industry. Nevertheless, the international body comprised of 88 member nations can be instrumental in initiating an actionable blueprint for curbing marine plastic pollution.

Plastic ingestion poses a serious concern to the well-being of marine wildlife, especially to filter feeders such as whales and whale sharks. Their feeding habit makes them particularly liable to ingest non-biodegradable plastic waste, eventually leading to digestive issues. Research indicates that of the 90 known cetacean species at least 57 species are susceptible to plastic ingestion. Besides the obvious threat to marine wildlife, the accumulation of plastic waste in oceans also poses a major financial concern. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimated in 2014 that marine plastic waste causes a yearly financial loss of USD 13 billion due to its impact on the fishing industry.

The resolution adopted by IWC upholds the commitment of its members to stand by the decision taken at the UN Environment Assembly to forge a legally binding agreement to end marine plastic pollution by 2024. However, in the absence of corporate goodwill to cease plastic production, the discussions only seem futile as our oceans are burdened with millions of tons of plastic waste every year. Government agencies and industry leaders must recognize the urgency of the situation and minimize plastic production to curb the problem at its root.

By signing this petition, you can raise a unified voice against the menace of marine plastic waste and its impact on the ecosystem. The IWC is a key stakeholder in freeing the oceans of non-biodegradable pollution and it needs to do more in urging member states to reduce plastic production to a minimum.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Commissioner Diallo,

The IWC passed a resolution to stand by global negotiations to forge a binding agreement to tackle global plastic pollution by 2024. Marine plastic waste poses a significant threat to cetacean species, thereby affecting the long-term sustainability of the global whaling industry. Besides, a report by the UNEP puts the estimate of losses suffered by the fishing industry due to plastic pollution at USD 13 billion.

Tougher steps must be taken to stop plastic production and desist the problem at its root. We urge you, Commissioner Diallo to adopt a more proactive approach and achieve tougher plastic control measures within the member nations of the IWC.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Hajj0


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