On 27 July, the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella launched “World Aquariums Against Marine Litter”. The event will see Aquariums across the world fill one of their exhibitions with plastic to show the global reality of marine litter.
Commissioner Vella said: “Aquariums are a TV Screen to the ocean. This campaign on Marine Litter is urgent and welcome. The World’s Aquariums have decided to become the Ocean’s ‘breaking news’ to avoid becoming its history channel. This summer, millions of visitors across the globe will visit an aquarium. To bring change we must show them the reality of plastic pollution”.
The event took place at the iconic Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, together with HSH Albert II, Prince of Monaco, Head of the United Nations Environment Programme Erik Solheim, and World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) CEO Doug Cress.
The campaign is designed to raise awareness of the upcoming Our Ocean conference (Malta, 5-6 October). Hosted by the European Union for the first time, this high-level international event brings together ocean champions from government, civil society and business.
Almost one hundred aquariums across 5 continents have joined the campaign, organised by the EU as part of the United Nation’s #CleanSeas campaign.
10 million tonnes of litter end up in the oceans every year. That is one garbage truck per minute, 400 kilos per second. Millions of marine animals die every year because of marine litter, including sea birds, seals, whales, dolphins and turtles. In some areas, micro plastics already outnumber plankton by six to one. And the prospects for the future look grim: by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the seas and 99% of seabirds could have ingested plastic.