Ocean Action Hub

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These Indian fishermen take plastic out of the sea and use it to build roads

6 Jul 2018 - Fisherman in India’s southern state of Kerala are taking on the battle to cut the level of plastic waste in the oceans.

6 Jul 2018 - Every one of India’s 1.3 billion people uses an average 11kg of plastic each year. After being used, much of this plastic finds its way to the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, where it can maim and kill fish, birds and other marine wildlife.

Fisherman in India’s southern state of Kerala are taking on the battle to cut the level of plastic waste in the oceans.

When the trawlers drag their nets through the water, they end up scooping out huge amounts of plastic along with the fish. Until recently the fishermen would simply throw the plastic junk back into the water.

But last summer Kerala’s fisheries minister J. Mercykutty Amma started a scheme to change this. Under her direction, the state government launched a campaign called Suchitwa Sagaram, or Clean Sea, which trains fishermen to collect the plastic and bring it back to shore.

In Suchitwa Sagaram’s first 10 months, fisherman have removed 25 tonnes of plastic from the Arabian Sean, including 10 tonnes of plastic bags and bottles, according to a UN report on the scheme.

From waste to roads

Once all the plastic waste caught by the Keralan fishermen reaches the shore, it is collected by people from the local fishing community - all but two of whom are women - and fed into a plastic shredding machine.

Like so many of India’s plastic recycling schemes, this shredded plastic is converted into material that is used for road surfacing.

There are more than 34,000km of plastic roads in India, mostly in rural areas. More than half of the roads in the southern state of Tamil Nadu are plastic. This road surface is increasingly popular as it makes the roads more resilient to India’s searing heat. The melting point for plastic roads is around 66°C, compared to 50°C for conventional roads.

Using recycled plastic is a cheaper alternative to conventional plastic additives for road surfaces. Every kilometre of plastic road uses the equivalent of a million plastic bags, saving around one tonne of asphalt. Each kilometre costs roughly 8% less than a conventional road.

And plastic roads help create work. As well as the Keralan fishing crews, teams of on-land plastic pickers across India collect the plastic waste. They sell their plastic to the many small plastic shredding businesses that have popped up across the country.

Plastics ban

The need for schemes such as Suchitwa Sagaram is emphasised by research that shows 90% of the plastic waste in the world’s oceans is carried there by just 10 rivers - two of which are in India.

According to a study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, India’s Indus and Ganges rivers carry the second and sixth highest amounts of plastic debris to the ocean. The Indian Ocean, meanwhile, is choked with the second highest amount of plastic out of all of the world’s oceans.

Like Kerala’s fisheries minister, Indian politicians appear to be taking action in the face of this mounting crisis.

This month India’s prime minister Narendra Modi pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022, starting with an immediate ban in urban Delhi.

The move came just three months after India’s western state of Maharashtra issued a ban virtually all types of plastic bag, disposable cutlery, cups and dishes, as well as plastic containers and packaging.

Residents face fines from 5,000 rupees (US$73) for a first time offence to 25,000 rupees ($367) and jail time for repeat offenders, while the state’s Environment Department is also encouraging people to recycle bottles and milk bags through a buy-back scheme.

While’s India’s plastic problem is substantial due to the size of its population and its rate of economic growth, schemes such as those in Maharashtra, Delhi and Kerala set an example to western nations.

In the US, for example each person on average generates up to 10 times the amount of plastic waste generated by their Indian counterpart.

If western nations followed India’s lead of combining political pressure with entrepreneurial ventures, perhaps the world will stand of a chance of avoiding the predicted catastrophe of there being more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/these-indian-fishermen-take-plast...

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5 amazing people fighting to save our oceans
5 Jul 2018 - Need inspiration for your #OceanAction? These young global leaders are building a movement to restore and protect our ocean.

5 Jul 2018 - WEF - Need inspiration for your ocean action? This important collective of young global leaders is building a multi-pronged movement to restore and protect the Earth’s marine bounty. Coming from private, media, grassroots and multilateral organizations, these are some of the individuals who will ensure our oceans remain sources of life for generations to come.

The ocean supplies more than half of the oxygen we breathe, at least one-ninth of global livelihoods and a carbon absorption system that has thus far regulated climate change.

While only 5% of the ocean has been explored, evidence suggests its entire ecosystem is seriously under threat. The number of fish in the oceans has halvedin 50 years, since 1970. Coral reefs bleach far more frequently and extensively than just four decades previously, putting countless species at risk. Every minute, it’s estimated that the equivalent of an entire garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the ocean.

Using tourism to protect coastlines

Gloria Fluxa Thienemann, Iberostar

Gloria Fluxa Thienemann is changing the impact of seaside tourism. As the CEO of one of Europe’s most prominent hospitality companies, Iberostar, she directly influences more than 110 hotels in 35 countries. More than 80% of these hotels are coastal. Through Gloria’s initiative, Wave of Change, Iberostar has developed an action plan to preserve and promote oceans and seas. This includes replacing single-use plastics with products made of biodegradable materials, ensuring the traceability of the fish on the hotel menus and funding research into coral reef conservation.

Promoting informed policy-making on oceans

Lara Setrakian, Oceans Deeply

Lara Setrakian infuses deeper understanding oceans within the public arena. As the co-founder and executive editor of News Deeply, a new media company working to advance coverage of complex global issues, Lara has created a specific platform for oceans-related news coverage, Oceans Deeply. This goes beyond the reporting of hot topics like the coral reef crisis, plastics pollution and the establishment of marine protected areas; it also aims to raise awareness of underrepresented issues such as high-seas governance and deep-sea mining.

Financing ocean-friendly investments

Pawan Patil, World Bank

Pawan Patil is a force behind the World Bank’s multibillion-dollar portfolio on oceans. He has worked in partnership with scientists, policy practitioners and financial experts around the world to author numerous articles illuminating the Earth’s ocean wealth and promoting a sustainable and ocean-friendly “blue economy”. Pawan, who is a senior economist at the World Bank, is also the recipient of several innovation awards in support of ocean-facing developing countries. Driven by his family’s coastal heritage, Pawan’s commitment to improving the livelihoods of seafaring and coastal communities, particularly in non-industrialized economies, will spur investment into the right type of oceanic development.

Inspiring young people to protect marine life

Hanli Prinsloo, I Am Water

Two women from the southern hemisphere are inspiring generations of young people and their families to care for the oceans. South African Hanli Prinsloo is the founder and CEO of oceans conservation trust called I AM WATER, which seeks to ignite a movement of “blue minds” across the planet. Her team connects diverse communities to the oceans to discover life beneath the waves first hand. By exposing influential philanthropists and young people from underprivilegedcoastal communities to the mystery and beauty of our aquatic environment, Hanli cultivates love for and commitment to protecting our oceans.

Kerstin Forsberg beyond red-brick peruvian house

Kerstin Fosberg, Planeta Oceano

Image: Rolex/ Francois Schaer

In Latin America, Kerstin Fosberg, mobilizes scores of volunteers to empower and educate coastal communities in Peru and beyond about their marine environments through Planeta Oceano. The dynamo behind the campaign to acquire legal protection for Peru’s giant manta rays, Kerstin marshalled tourists and local fishermen as citizen scientists to collect data to advocate for this species. Her vision prompted the Peruvian government to legally protect the giant fish. Kerstin now has her sights set on achieving broader conservation efforts through strategic tourism and the activation of local communities.

Identifying tech solutions for the health of the oceans

Nina Jensen, REV Ocean

Image: Kjeli Ruben Strom

We hear a lot of talk about oceans protection but Nina Jensen is looking to turn it into action. She is the CEO of REV Ocean, which is currently constructing the world’s largest research and expedition vessel. This vessel will be fitted to house 60 researchers at any given time and promises to uncover sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions for the world's oceans. With a background of 15 years at WWF Norway, Nina has a burning commitment and passion for oceans, conservation and finding the specific solutions oceans need to thrive.

While their individual efforts have already identified these change-makers as critical contributors to national and regional ecosystems, their collective efforts have the power to safeguard the delicate interdependence between terrestrial and aquatic life.

Find out more about the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders here.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/5-amazing-ways-young-people-are-promoting-healthy-oceans/

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5 ocean success stories to inspire you to action!
World Economic Forum - It can seem that the world is awash with bad news about the ocean, but there are also a few bright spots. Here are five marine success stories.

World Economic Forum - Earlier this year, a study was published suggesting that humpback whales are making a comeback. The population appears to be in the midst of a baby boom, reversing years of decline driven by commercial whaling.

It was a rare piece of good news about marine life, and comes at a time when threats to our oceans have never been greater.

Every year, World Oceans Day encourages us to celebrate and honour the ocean. The 2018 theme is preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.

Source of life

Water covers 71% of the surface of our planet. The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 that humans emit and marine plants produce most of the oxygen in the atmosphere.

However, our way of life is threatening these complex ecosystems. Plastic pollution is choking marine wildlife and harming corals, reaching even the deepest part of the ocean, climate change is causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise and acidification, overfishing is drastically depleting the world’s fish stocks and coral reefs are dying.

It can seem that the world is awash with bad news about the ocean, but there are also a few bright spots. Here are five stories about marine conservation and cooperation that made waves recently.

A comeback for some whale and shark species

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the humpback whale was hunted to near extinction. But a new study points to evidence of a rapidly growing population.

Between 2010 and 2016, researchers took 577 DNA samples from humpbacks around the Western Antarctic Peninsula.

Of those, 239 were from males and 268 from females. The progesterone levels identified in their blubber indicated that, on average over that period, 63.5% of the females were pregnant.

In addition, the number of pregnant females was rising, from 36% in 2010 to 86% in 2014.

The researchers also found that the whales were reproducing every year; 54.5% of females accompanied by a calf were pregnant.

“These high pregnancy rates are consistent with a population recovering from past exploitation,” noted the study.

Shark populations are also recovering

Shark numbers declined rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s as a result of overfishing and bycatch (where fish or marine mammals are caught unintentionally).

As Dr David Shiffman, a shark conservation expert and marine biologist, notes in a recent blog, great white sharks were among the first species to benefit from conservation protections around the world.

By 2009, the population was back to 30% below historic levels, indicating an upward trend.

But numbers of lesser known shark species, including the sandbar, blacktip, tiger, and spinner, are also increasing thanks to conservation efforts.

“While we can’t forget that many species of shark are in trouble, we can and should celebrate successes as we work to implement them elsewhere. Shark population increases show that shark conservation works,” writes Shiffman.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/5-ocean-success-stories-to-chase-away-the-blues/

Image: REUTERS/Hugh Gentry

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If we don’t protect the ocean, humanitarian disaster awaits - Isabella Lövin

8 Jun 2018 - Overfishing and climate change threaten the vital food supply of more than one billion people.

8 Jun 2018 - Overfishing and climate change threaten the vital food supply of more than one billion people. They are the driving forces behind the deteriorating health of the ocean, which is the world’s largest ecosystem and the source of oxygen and climate regulation for our entire planet, not to mention jobs and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people.

If we do not take urgent action to restore and protect our ocean we will soon face an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. We can fix these problems. The ocean has an immense capacity to heal itself, and there are proven methods available for us to help it.

On World Oceans Day, we need to recognize that the situation is critical, and strengthen our commitment to reversing ocean decline. The ocean belongs at the heart of the global political agenda. It holds the key to overcoming some of our most pressing challenges, such as combating climate change and producing enough food sustainably for 10 billion people by the middle of the 21st century. Saving our ocean is a question of human survival.

We already have a globally agreed plan for how to restore and protect our ocean. In 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including 17 global goals. Sustainable Development Goal 14 ‘Life below water’ and its ten targets specify what must be done to improve ocean health. We also have the Paris Agreement, in which nations pledge to curtail their carbon emissions and keep the global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius, as well as the 1400 voluntary commitments made at the first-ever UN Ocean Conference, which was convened by Sweden and Fiji in 2017.

What we don’t have is a lot of time. I urge world leaders to muster and exercise the political will to achieve these goals, to invest in ocean solutions and to encourage businesses and other stakeholders to join in. The G7 are meeting this week in Canada, and the ocean is on the schedule. I hope that the leaders of some of the world’s most powerful nations will seize this opportunity to take decisive steps to avert disaster. Addressing the following four key areas would help put us on track.


The UN estimates that fish provide about three billion people with 20% of their animal protein, rising to close to 100% in many islands and coastal regions. Approximately one in 10 people rely on fisheries or aquaculture for their income. Small-scale fisheries are responsible for 90% of all fishing jobs in developing countries. But decades of overfishing, unsustainable fishing practices and pirate fishing have put this life-giving resource under extreme pressure.

The host of this year’s G7, Canada, knows only too well how devastating the outcome can be, having suffered the total loss of its Grand Banks cod fishery, along with tens of thousands of jobs. Image a similar scenario in a vulnerable, developing country. The results would be calamitous: widespread malnutrition, unemployment, insecurity and forced migration. The warning signs are already there, exacerbated by warming seas forcing some fish stocks to migrate out of reach of local fisheries.

So, what’s to be done? In short, we need to implement international agreements to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU). The Port State Measures Agreement is designed to prevent vessels engaged in IUU fishing from using ports and landing their catches. We need to harness and share the latest surveillance and tracking technology to bring illegal fishers to justice and ensure that our fish are caught sustainably. There should also be a new push at the WTO to agree to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies. If the G7 put their weight behind - and invested in - these measures, two of the biggest obstacles to achieving sustainable fishing could be removed.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/if-we-dont-protect-ocean-humanitarian-disaster-world-oceans-day/

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India will abolish all single-use plastic by 2022, vows Narendra Modi

6 Jun 2018 - India’s Prime Minister has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022 with an immediate ban in urban Delhi.

7 Jun 2018 - India’s Prime Minister has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022 with an immediate ban in urban Delhi.

The plan announced by Narendra Modi is by far the most ambitious from any of the many nations which have so far promised to take action to tackle plastic pollution.

While plastic use per capita is much lower in India than many western nations, its population of 1.3 billion and the fact that the country is the fastest growing economy in the world will make fulfilling the promise a huge challenge.

“The choices that we make today will define our collective future,” the Prime Minister said. “The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology, and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices. Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live.”

A global crisis

A United Nations report issued to mark World Environment Day showed more than 50 nations are acting to cut plastic, including bans on single use plastics in the Galapagos and styrofoam in Sri Lanka, and the promotion of biodegradable bags in China.

But millions of tonnes of plastic still enter the sea each year, threatening wildlife and even the human food chain. Microplastics have now been found in tap water and human food around the world. According to a World Economic Forum report, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 if we carry on with business as usual.

The UN report says taxes and bans on plastic have been among the most effective strategies to curb plastic waste - but only when they are properly enforced.

The report says there is a fundamental need for broader cooperation from business, including obliging plastic producers to take responsibility and offering incentives to stimulate more recycling.

Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment says the world is on the “edge of a plastic calamity” but praised the new plan announced by the Indian government, “They have shown that political motivation, turned into practical action, can inspire the world and ignite real change”.

India has also announced a national marine litter action campaign and a programme to measure how much plastic enters India’s coastal waters.

It says it will also make 100 national monuments litter-free, including the Taj Mahal.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/india-will-abolish-all-single-use...

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More Plastic than Fish in the Ocean by 2050: WEF Report Offers Blueprint for Change

27 Feb 2017 - Report offers vision for a global economy in which plastics never become waste, and a blueprint for the systemic change and collaboration needed to realize that vision.

27 Feb 2017 - Most plastic packaging is used only once; new report reveals that 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80 billion-$120 billion annually, is lost to the economy

- Report predicts that, on the current track, oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 (by weight)

- Report offers vision for a global economy in which plastics never become waste, and a blueprint for the systemic change and collaboration needed to realize that vision

- Read the full report here

The current system by which we produce, use and dispose of plastics has important drawbacks: plastic packaging material with a value of $80 billion-$120 billion is lost each year. Aside from the financial cost, by 2050, on the current track, oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish (by weight), according to a new report released today by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with McKinsey & Company as a knowledge partner, as part of Project MainStream. The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics provides for the first time a vision of a global economy in which plastics never become waste and outlines concrete steps towards achieving the systemic shift needed.

The report is underpinned by the principles of the circular economy — an economy that aims to keep materials at their highest value at all times. Assessing global plastic packaging flows comprehensively for the first time, the report finds that most plastic packaging is used only once; 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80 billion-$120 billion annually, is lost to the economy after a short first use. The New Plastics Economy, outlined in this report, envisages a fundamental rethink for plastic packaging and plastics in general — a new model based on creating effective after-use pathways for plastics; drastically reducing leakage of plastics into natural systems, in particular oceans; and finding alternatives to crude oil and natural gas as the raw material of plastic production.

“This report demonstrates the importance of triggering a revolution in the plastics industrial ecosystem and is a first step to showing how to transform the way plastics move through our economy. To move from insight to large-scale action, it is clear that no one actor can work on this alone. The public, private sector and civil society all need to mobilize to capture the opportunity of the new circular plastics economy,” said Dominic Waughray, Head or Public-Private Partnership, World Economic Forum.

The report, produced as part of Project MainStream, a collaboration between the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum, with analytical support from McKinsey & Company, finds that the use of plastics has increased twentyfold in the past half-century and is expected to double again in the next 20 years. While plastics and plastic packaging are an integral part of the global economy and deliver many benefits, the report shows that their value chains currently entail significant drawbacks.

“Linear models of production and consumption are increasingly challenged by the context within which they operate — and this is particularly true for high-volume, low-value materials such as plastic packaging. By demonstrating how circular economy principles can be applied to global plastic flows, this report provides a model for achieving the systemic shift our economy needs to make in order to work in the long term,” said Dame Ellen MacArthur, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Achieving the systemic change needed to shift the global plastic value chain will require major collaboration efforts between all stakeholders across the global plastics value chain — consumer goods companies, plastic packaging producers and plastics manufacturers, businesses involved in collection, sorting and reprocessing, cities, policy-makers and NGOs. The report proposes the creation of an independent coordinating vehicle to set direction, establish common standards and systems, overcome fragmentation, and foster innovation opportunities at scale. In line with the report’s recommendations, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation will establish an initiative to act as a cross-value-chain global dialogue mechanism and drive the shift towards a New Plastics Economy. CONTINUE READING HERE: https://medium.com/world-economic-forum/more-plastic-than-fish-in-the-ocean-by-2050-report-offers-blueprint-for-change-3b22cd497a46#.5routu4jk

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The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics

This report presents a compelling opportunity to increase the system effectiveness of the plastics economy, illustrated by examples from the plastic packaging value chain.

The vision of a New Plastics Economy offers a new way of thinking about plastics as an effective global material flow, aligned with the principles of the circular economy.