Ocean Action Hub

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Chilean Researchers Create ‘SoluBag’ to #BeatPlasticPollution

22 Oct 2018 - Researchers in Chile have created a bag that can dissolve in water. The bag has the potential to contribute to reducing marine plastic pollution.

22 Oct 2018 - Researchers in Chile have created a bag that can dissolve in water. The bag has the potential to contribute to reducing marine plastic pollution.

According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment), over 60,000 microplastic particles are contained in every square kilometer of the sea, although this figure is even higher for some parts of the world. These microplastic particles come from plastic waste that ends up in the ocean and then breaks down into smaller pieces as a result of wave erosion, bacteria and other environmental effects. Marine life may consume these microplastic particles, which then enter the global food chain.

Roberto Astete and Cristian Olivares, who designed the soluble bag, were working on experiments related to biodegradable detergents. During their experiments, they discovered that using a derivative of limestone, rather than oil byproducts, changes the structure of plastic from indestructible to soluble. This discovery led to the creation of the SoluBag.

A traditional plastic bag takes more than 150 years to degrade. The SoluBag can be disposed of in water in a few minutes.

Chile became the first country in South America to join other countries in banning the use of plastic bags as a step towards tackling plastic pollution. More than 50 countries have taken similar steps as part of the UN Clean Seas campaign.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/chilean-researchers-create-solubag-to-beatplasticpollution/

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Report Finds Poor Outlook for Pacific Coral Reefs

5 Oct 2018 - UN Environment/SPREP report concludes that “the outlook is poor” for Pacific coral reefs due to human-induced threats and climate change.

5 Oct 2018 - According to the report, coral reefs in the Pacific remain “less stressed” compared to reefs elsewhere, with strong potential for coral, fish and invertebrate populations to recover following damaging events.

However, the report concludes that while many Pacific reefs appear healthy and resilient now, “the outlook is poor” over the longer term as a result of increasing human-induced threats and global climate change.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) launched a report titled, ‘Status and Trends of Coral Reefs for the Pacific,’ which highlights the role of the region’s coral reefs in the life and culture of eight million Pacific islanders. The report will contribute to reporting for the SDGs and is a response to the priorities identified in the SAMOA Pathway and Pacific Oceanscape Framework.

The report is the culmination of a two-year process initiated at the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) Pacific Workshop, which took place in 2016. The preparation of regional periodic coral reef assessments is the main substantive activity of the GCRMN. UNEP and SPREP developed the report in partnership with the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and the Centre for Island Research and Environmental Observatory (CRIOBE), with financial support from the Governments of France, Sweden and the US. The report is also expected to inform the mid-term review of the SAMOA Pathway and development of the Pacific Coral Reef Action Plan 2020-2030, which SPREP coordinates.

The report analyzes long-term trends in coral reef health using primary data, including 20,000 surveys collected for 129 islands that cover nearly three decades. Although overall coral cover in the Pacific is relatively stable in comparison with other world regions, the report finds a statistically significant decline in coral cover across the Pacific reefs. In addition, coral reefs in the Pacific remain “less stressed” compared to reefs elsewhere, with strong potential for coral, fish and invertebrate populations to recover following damaging events. However, the report concludes that while many Pacific reefs appear healthy and resilient now, “the outlook is poor” over the longer term as a result of increasing human-induced threats and global climate change.

CONTINE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/report-finds-poor-outlook-for-pacific-coral-reefs/

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UNEP, UK Launch Plastic Challenge Badge for Girl Guides and Scouts

11 Sept 2018 - The Badge curriculum will first focus on youth groups and schools in Kenya, reaching an estimated 50,000 young people.

In future months, the initiative is expected to expand to empower millions of young people to tackle plastic pollution. The UK Government has provided US$50,000 in funding for the initial project.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and UN Environment Programme Executive Director Erik Solheim launched a Plastic Challenge Badge for Girl Guides and Scouts at the UN offices in Nairobi, Kenya. The Plastic Challenge Badge aims to promote education and action on reducing plastic consumption and kick-starting behavior change through hands-on environmental stewardship.

The Badge curriculum will first focus on youth groups and schools in Kenya, reaching an estimated 50,000 young people. In future months, the initiative is expected to expand to empower millions of young people to tackle plastic pollution.

Solheim praised the Plastic Challenge Badge in his remarks at the launch. He emphasized that the partnership with the UK Government and Guides and Scouts will not just fight plastic pollution but also contribute to investing “in the young minds that will preserve the planet for future generations to come.”

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/unep-uk-launch-plastic-challenge-badge-for-girl-guides-and-scouts/

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Conference Considers Ways to Move from Science to Action during Ocean Science Decade

21 Sept 2018 - The meeting at UNESCO headquarters invited the global ocean community to deliver “the ocean we need for the future we want.”

21 Sept 2018 - The High Level Scientific Conference, ‘From COP21 towards the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030),’ synthesized recent scientific progress on ocean and climate interplays, and evaluated the latest ocean-climate trends within the context of increased ocean action. Participants also reflected on ways to move from science to action during the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The conference took place from 10-11 September 2018, in Paris, France, at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The conference gathered inputs from multiple stakeholders, and invited the global ocean community to deliver “the ocean we need for the future we want.”

The session on ‘What does the Science Tell us Today about the Ocean?’ discussed how climate change has impacted the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life and how these changes will affect the livelihoods of people that rely on these resources. Panelists reflected on the challenges of making biological observations in the ocean, challenges for marine ecosystem modeling and the effects of land use change on ocean health.

The UNFCCC, SDG 14 and the BBNJ “are 80% about the ocean.”

The session on ‘An Intergovernmental Organization Perspective on Ocean, Climate and Biodiversity Knowledge’ focused on how the ocean is being integrated into the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and how ocean science is being integrated into UN frameworks, notably with regard to marine ecosystems and biodiversity. IPCC Co-Chair, Hans-Otto Pörtner, highlighted reports that will cover the ocean in the IPCC Sixth Assessment cycle, such as the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) scheduled for approval in 2019. He recalled that the two most vulnerable marine ecosystems identified in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) are warm water coral reef systems and Arctic sea ice systems, outlining how disturbance of ecosystem functions can lead to loss of biodiversity and food chain disruption. IPBES President, Robert Watson, stressed that climate change and biodiversity are not isolated issues, and noted the need to understand the interplay between land, ocean and atmosphere. Panelists also described challenges to communicate the urgency of ocean conservation to decision makers in the context of multilateral negotiations, especially related to the deep sea. During discussions, panelists recommended further coordination between the IPCC and IPBES.

The session on ‘From Science to Action: How can the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Make a Difference?’ focused on the opportunities for the Decade to scale up science-based solutions to address the impact of climate-related changes on ocean, ecosystems and society. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) Chair, Peter Haugan, highlighted how the IOC Ocean Global Science Report will provide a benchmark for SDG 14 (life below water) with regard to science capacity. Panelists called for ocean literacy investments and further engagement with the marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) process, agreeing that the Decade can help with the implementation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the UNFCCC.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/conference-considers-ways-to-move-from-science-to-action-during-ocean-science-decade/

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Tech Company Develops Aquadrone to Tackle Plastic Pollution

5 Sept 2018 - RanMarine Technology has developed the WasteShark, an aquadrone that can “suck up” garbage from the water.

5 Sept 2018 - SDG KNOWLEDGE HUB - RanMarine Technology has developed the WasteShark, an aquadrone that can “suck up” garbage from the water. The aquadrone aims to stop plastic pollution at the source, eliminating floating debris before it drifts into the world’s oceans.

Preventing and reducing marine pollution, particularly from land-based activities, is the aim of SDG target 14.1. SDG 14 (life below water) focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

RanMarine Technology modeled the WasteShark after the whale shark, a filter feeder that consumes plankton and small crustaceans by sucking them through its long, flat mouth. The WasteShark has “an enormous mouth” that is designed to skim the water and track down trash, operating based on the same principles as the whale shark. The aquadron is best suited to collect trash in areas known as “waste chokeholds” such as canals, harbors, ponds and rivers.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/tech-company-develops-aquadrone-to-tackle-plastic-pollution/