Mauritius to ban disposal of plastic at sea

Reduit, Mauritius (PANA) – Mauritius is finalising a regulation that will ban the disposal of all forms of plastic into the sea, the Mauritian Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping MInister Premdut Koonjoo said on Friday.

When the regulation is promulgated it will give legal force to Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), signed by Mauritius in 1995, whose most important feature is the complete ban on the disposal into the sea of all forms of plastic.

Speaking on the occasion of World Oceans Day 2018 at the University of Mauritius, Mr Koonjoo noted that oceans are in danger of facing transboundary challenges such as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, overfishing, ocean acidification, climate change and plastic pollution.

He pointed out that plastic pollution is causing tremendous harm to marine resources adding that "our oceans are silently drowning in plastic".

Mr Koonjoo said that international studies have revealed that eight million tons of plastic garbage end in the ocean every year, pointing out that plastic accounts for 80% of marine litter and that by 2050, there may be more plastics than fish in our oceans.

He recalled that Mauritius has no natural resources such as gold, minerals or petrol but a vast maritime zone of 2.3 million square kilometres which offer huge potentials.

“The resources of the sea have to be sustainably exploited since Mauritius depends on the resources which the ocean can offer,” he emphasised.

According to him, the Government is fully aware of the immense potential of the ocean and has pledged for a cleaner and safer ocean. He added that his Ministry has set up a dedicated Ocean Economy Unit with the mandate to implement projects for sustainable management of the resources of the oceans, and to take meaningful measures to prevent pollution of the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

For her part, the Director of the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI), Dr Ruby Moothien Pillay, said that plastic pollution’s reality bears sobering consequences and is as dangerous as climate change. She underlined that there is the need to be proactive and work collectively so as to create a sustainable ocean for the youth of tomorrow.

Several activities are being organized on Friday in Mauritius to mark the day. They include one-day seminar at the University of Mauritius and cleaning of beaches and the sea around the island under the theme, "Preventing Plastic Pollution and Encouraging Solutions for a healthy Ocean”. The focus is on plastic pollution which is causing tremendous harm to marine resources.
-0- PANA NA/MA 8June2018

08 june 2018 10:58:11

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