Tehran, 20 June 2018: UNESCO attended a commemoration ceremony on the occasion of World Oceans Day 2018 in Tehran and called for stronger actions to prevent marine plastic pollution and encourage solutions for healthy oceans.
The event that was organized by the Iranian National Commission for Oceanography, and the National Institute of Oceanography and Atmospheric Science of Iran, brought together a number of environmental and marine experts, as well as decision-makers on critical marine environment issues, including plastic pollution.
Ms. Esther Kuisch-Laroche, the Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, underscored in her statement to the event that plastic debris has become a major source of pollutant, which has been detected in all major marine habitats. “The main focus of World Oceans Day is to raise awareness to what is happening to our precious oceans due to unsustainable, and quite often, poor waste management practices”. She added: “Finding solutions to protect and sustainably manage our oceans requires global collaboration.”
According to a UN-Environment Report, plastic pollution is causing tremendous harm to our marine resources. An estimated 80 % of all pollution in the ocean comes from people on land, and 8 million tons of plastic per year ends up in the ocean, wreaking havoc on wildlife, fisheries and tourism. Moreover, plastic pollution costs the lives of 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year, and causes $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year.
World Oceans Day has been celebrated unofficially since its original proposal in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was officially established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 to be celebrated worldwide on 8 June annually to resolve the ocean issues and save ocean water.