Ocean Action Hub

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World Water Day – Act against marine pollution

22 Mar 2017 - More than 80 per cent of marine pollution comes from land-based activities.

22 Mar 2017 - More than 80 per cent of marine pollution comes from land-based activities.

The time to act against marine pollution is today, March 22 and World Water Day 2017; tomorrow will be too late.

This is the opinion of South African National Bottled Water Association executive director, Charlotte Metcalf, who points to statistics quoted by organisations like Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund to highlight the dangerous levels of marine pollution and who, together with her member bottlers, are striving for responsible corporate citizenship.

The bottled water industry is a relatively small user of PET; estimates put its usage at less than 5 per cent.

World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.

Acknowledging that World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater, Metcalf nevertheless stresses that marine water resources are under equal threat and highly polluted.

Sea pollution

According to National Geographic, pollution is “the introduction of harmful contaminants that are outside the norm for a given ecosystem. Common man-made pollutants that reach the ocean include pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, detergents, oil, sewage, plastics, and other solids.”

Several sources – including the National Ocean Service (http://oceanservice.noaa.gov) – say that more than 80 per cent of marine pollution comes from land-based activities.

From plastic bags to pesticides – most of the waste we produce on land eventually reaches the oceans, either through deliberate dumping or from run-off through drains and rivers,” Metcalf said.

“As an industry that utilises plastic and glass, the bottled water industry in South Africa is very concerned with the solid rubbish that makes its way to the ocean. Plastic bags, balloons, glass bottles, shoes, packaging material – if not disposed of correctly, almost everything we throw away can reach the sea.”

CONTINUE READING: http://highwaymail.co.za/254914/world-water-day-act-marine-pollution/