Preventing Ocean Pollution Starts with Us

On June 08th, together with millions of people around the globe, I celebrated World Oceans Day, an opportunity to reflect on the importance of oceans in our everyday lives and what we can do to preserve its natural resources for future generations.

With shocking recent news announcing that marine life is facing extinction, that 36 percent of sea turtles are affected by marine debris, that numerous shark species could be extinct in just over a decade, … it’s hard to believe that the future of our oceans is in our hands and could depend on our everyday actions to protect it.

Yet, contributing to protecting our oceans and reducing pollution can be as easy as taking these few simple steps:

  1. Choose items at the store that come in less packaging and recycle whenever possible.
  2. Avoid using single use plastic items such as plastic cups, forks, bags, ….
  3. Participate in cleanup efforts. If you’re a diver, Dive Against Debris with the Project AWARE Foundation. The data collected from these events are critical to inform, persuade and empower policy makers and other stakeholders to establish and improve integrated solid waste management practices. Practices where we reduce, reuse, and recycle our way to an ocean free of marine debris.
  4. Set an example for your children. Teach them to protect the environment … or let them teach you!

plastic cup underwater marine debrisThrough cleanup events, the Ocean Conservancy, the Project AWARE Foundation, and the Marine Conservation Society are monitoring the types of litter that wash up on beaches and poses threats to marine wildlife. Cigarette butts, food containers, cans, rope, discarded fishing nets and plastic bottles have all been present in cleanups for the past 25 years. Cleanup participants have found enough cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons over the last 25 years to host a picnic for 2 million people.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the sources of pollution include poorly managed landfills, riverine transport, untreated sewage, storm water discharges and industrial and manufacturing facilities with inadequate controls. Coordinated strategies are needed at local, national, regional and international levels.

The recent introduction of the Trash Free Seas Act, a bill that calls for research, assessment, reduction and prevention of ocean litter, is a great step forward. But policymakers aren’t the only ones with a responsibility to deal with the issue; we all have a role to play in keeping our ocean clean and free of litter. Relying only on policymakers to fix the issue of marine pollution is not good enough.

Ending ocean pollution is an important and worthy goal. Efforts should take into account all forms of pollution and put greater responsibility on us – the consumer – to think about where that food wrapper will end-up if we choose to drop it on the ground. When debris falls from our hands to the sea, it could be there for generations to come …. so think twice, dispose of your rubbish properly and reduce, reuse, recycle!

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Oil Spill in Eilat Port

Published on: June, 27 2011 – Ministry of Environment Protection – Israel Ministry of the Environment – News.

Port of Eilat from the sea imageStaffers of the Eilat Marine Pollution Prevention Station , operating within the framework of the Marine and Coastal Environment Division of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, have been hard at work cleaning up oil spills, which appear to be attributed to a Panamanian ship, AVRAMIT, anchored in the Port of Eilat. The spill was first discovered in Eilat’s port in the morning hours of Friday, June 24, 2011, and continued the following day. In parallel, the Marine and Coastal Environment Division is in the midst of a criminal investigation against the polluting vessel.

Upon discovery of the pollution on the Almog (Coral) Beach, between the marina and the border of the coral reserve, in the morning hours of June 24, the Eilat Marine Pollution Prevention Station called for help from the Nature and Parks Authority and volunteers from the Eilat field school and others. As a result of the collaboration of all bodies, the oil was contained and pumped from the sea using mechanical means and special sorbents. The quick response of all partners helped to prevent damage to the natural assets of the Gulf of Eilat.

By Sunday, June 26, 2011, 12 tons of fuel oil were pumped from the waters, of which 7 tons were transferred to oil tanks of the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company. In addition to the inspectors of the Eilat Marine Pollution Prevention Station, a wide variety of bodies and volunteers participated in the cleanup. They included: the Nature and Parks Authority, the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company, volunteers from the rescue unit of Eilat-Eilot and from the Eilat Field School, employees of the Club Hotel and municipal workers.

The Marine and Coastal Environment Division of the Ministry of Environmental Protection began an immediate investigation into the source of the pollution, the suspected vessel was detained and the investigation is ongoing with the help of inspectors of the Shipping and Ports Authority of the Israel Ministry of Transport.

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