Call to minimise marine pollution

Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy has urged citizens to play their part in minimising marine pollution by adopting sustainable practices, including reducing littering, participating in beach clean-ups, and recycling materials.

Creecy made the call as South Africa joined the global community in celebrating World Oceans Day (WOD), held under the theme ‘Awaken New Depths.’

Observed on 08 June, the main objective of this year’s WOD celebrations was to highlight the vital role of oceans in shaping socio-economic realities and environmental sustainability.

World Oceans Day also falls in June which is observed as Environment Month in South Africa.

‘As a maritime nation bordered by three vast oceans – the Atlantic, Indian, and Southern, South Africa recognises the significance of our oceanic territory and the imperative to deepen our understanding and ensure protection of this invaluable ecosystem. Oceans influence weather patterns, support diverse ecosystems, and provide livelihoo
ds for millions of people worldwide, including 40% of South Africa’s population residing within 100km of the coastline.

“The theme ‘Awaken New Depths’ encapsulates our commitment to explore and harness the immense potential of our oceans. Through concerted efforts, we aim to enhance our understanding of marine environments and promote sustainable use for the benefit of current and future generations,” Creecy said.

With an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending 200 nautical miles into the ocean surrounding the mainland and encompassing territories such as the Prince Edward and Marion Islands, South Africa boasts a vast maritime area of 1.5 million square kilometres.

Despite this expansive territory, much of the world’s oceans remain unexplored, emphasising the need for increased awareness and conservation efforts.

Creecy said South Africa has in the past few days experienced adverse weather conditions that have led to the destruction of property and loss of life, noting that the origin of this weather phe
nomena can be traced back to its source, the ocean.

‘The heavy rains in the Eastern and Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal were due to the air-sea interaction processes. South African scientists and international collaborators are working hard to study these extreme events to understand their frequency and magnitude in future to be able to mitigate against devastating impacts in future.

‘By working together, we can unlock the vast potential of our oceans while preserving their ecological integrity for generations to come. As we commemorate World Oceans Day, let us awaken to the depths of our oceans and embrace our role as custodians of these precious resources.

Source: South African Government News Agency