Letter: Celebrating the environment and oceans

POSTED: 06/8/12 12:49 PM

Dear Editor,

This week the world celebrated World Environment Day on June 5 and on Friday June 8 at World Ocean Day. It was the Canadian government that advocated a special day for the Oceans at the Earth summit in Rio de Janiero in 1992. The United Nations finally recognized World Ocean Day as an internationally recognized day every year on June 8 in 2008.
With the oceans covering 71 percent of the earth’s surface and depths still undiscovered by man teeming with marine life that are still new to us is it any wonder that the oceans holds so much mystery and can still inspire us?
For centuries we have used the oceans as our dumping grounds with the ignorance that what we dump at sea will disappear into some great abyss. Today we know better and many countries now recognize that our planets health depends on a clean ocean.
Plastic pollution in our oceans is but one of the great challenges, created by our modern ways of lifestyle and consumption. Almost everything we use is made of plastic and ends up as trash in our oceans. Scientists have now agreed that there are gyres/vortex in all oceans, not only the large Pacific Garbage Patch (vortex/gyre) that receives all the attention in the media.
The good news is that more and more researchers and scientists are traveling to the Pacific Ocean to study the Pacific Garbage Patch to find ways and means to clean it up. They are also brainstorming ways and means of how humans can reduce our dependency on plastic.
So how do you plan to celebrate the oceans for World Oceans Day 2012? If you have not thought about it, allow us to make a few suggestions:
1. Take a reusable shopping bag with you to shop for groceries, and refuse the plastic bags given out at the stores.
2. Volunteer in beach cleanups. If you are a diver, ask the dive shops if they offer underwater cleanups.
3. Do not litter! Ever! What you litter in St. Peters or Middle Region will eventually end up in our wetlands and oceans.
4. Pick up trash when you see it and ask others to do the same.
5. Become more conscious of the nature on our island, and take the time to enjoy the beaches and recreation activities on our oceans and lagoon.
6. Become more aware of over fishing, refrain from eating critically endangered fish as fish stocks are declining worldwide.
7. Sewage pollution and land erosion are preventable when government takes the correct steps. Encourage our government to create island wide sewage facilities. Land developers can plant trees to halt erosion from seeping into the ocean.
8. Learn to appreciate our marine wildlife. Our nesting sea turtles that grace us with their presence from March to November to the fierce looking sharks are all part of nature and should never be killed for pleasure or trophy hunting.
We do hope you will take some time on Friday to reflect on our beautiful oceans surrounding St. Maarten and wear blue as a tribute.

Happy World Oceans day to all.

St. Maarten PRIDE foundation

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