Coral Triangle Day Celebration Shows that Collective Action Can Tackle Marine Plastic Pollution Crisis
9 June 2017, Manado, Indonesia – The urgency to address marine plastic pollution reverberates all across 6 of the Coral Triangle (CT6) member countries today as part of the Coral Triangle Day Celebration 2017. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Solomon Islands are together making a stand against single use plastic as a bid to combat plastic pollution of the ocean. This strong call for action cannot come up soon enough as there is already a staggering 8 million metric tons of plastic dumped into the ocean each year and this figure will double in just 10 years if our behaviour doesn’t change.
In its sixth year, The Coral Triangle (CT) Day is coordinated by the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) and in partnership with the CT6 National Coordinating Committees (NCCs), Development Partners, and Collaborators. Themed ‘Curbing Marine Debris – Reduce Your Plastic Waste!’, the celebration brings ocean lovers across the region to demonstrate that giving up plastic in their lifestyle isn’t difficult and to continue to bring awareness to marine-related issues.
While the Coral Triangle is home to a thriving ecosystem with cultural and natural treasures of 76% of all known coral species, more than 3,000 species of fish and 6 out of 7 of the world’s turtle species, three of the CT6 countries dump more plastic into the ocean than any other place in the world. Ocean plastic produced by Indonesia (No.2 with 187.2 million tons); the Philippines (No.3 with 83.4 million tons); and Malaysia (No.8 with 22.9 million tons) are already impacting over 130 million people in the CT region (Jambeck et. al, 2015). Evidently, this plastic emergency threatens the protein source, livelihoods and other ecosystem benefits derived from this area that possesses the highest levels of marine biodiversity in the world.
But just as these countries are contributing to the collective waste on our planet, collective action itself can solve this far-reaching problem. By sharing the key message of protecting this life-sustaining area, the CT Day Celebration will rally individuals, organisations and establishments on this one special day of the year to reduce our plastic usage as much as possible in our daily lives.
Amongst the festivities organised today include beach clean ups and turtle tagging activities, movie screenings and radio talk shows. Moreover, an Instagram contest was launched on May 18thand ends today with winners announced on June 11th. The contest encourages the public to creatively show how the plastic encountered in their day to day life harms our marine ecosystems using the hashtags #sayno2plastic and #coraltriangle as well as what they are doing to reduce their own plastic waste.
CT Day is an open-sourced event and invites any organisation or institution in any part of the world, especially across the CT region to mark the Celebration through their own ocean-loving festivities. In essence, these activities are carried out to celebrate World Oceans Day (held globally on June 8th) with one simple message: protect the ocean that sustains us all.
More information on the Coral Triangle Day 2017 Celebration can be found on the following online platforms: twitter (@cticff), Facebook (cticff), Instagram (@cticff), CTI-CFF official website: www.coraltriangleinitiative.org and the dedicated website and Instagram page for the Coral Triangle Day: http://coraltriangleday.org/, @coraltriangle.