Let’s be responsible for our trash

Editorial

MOST of us do not know we harm the ocean with ordinary things we do every day.
We do not give much thought to where our trash goes.
With the debates currently ongoing on the plastic ban, it is time we start paying attention, though, especially to the ever-present plastic refuse we too aside every day. And what perfect timing is it to start talking about our oceans after just celebrating the World Environment Day last week.
Also on Saturday (June 8) was another day linked to the environment – it was the World Oceans Day.
The day, though with not much fanfare in the country, is marked to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life.
According to the United Nations website, oceans are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe.
The purpose of the day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilise and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.
They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere.
In the end, it is a day to celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean. The surface of Planet Earth is around 70 per cent water, over 96 per cent of which is salt water. While this vast area is mostly interconnected, it is broken up into large and small bodies by the seven continents and other landmasses.
The largest of these bodies are known as the Great Oceans.
There are five oceans – Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Southern. PNG is located in the Pacific Ocean. And there is no reason why this day should go by quietly. The Pacific is the largest of these oceans. It fills the area between the western coastline of the Americas, the eastern coastlines of Asia and Australia, and is capped to the North and South by the Arctic and Antarctic regions. In part because of the numerous tropical islands of East Asia, the Pacific boasts the longest total shoreline, some 135,663 km.
The oceans play an important role in the Earth’s climate and in global warming. One important function of the oceans is to transport heat from the tropics to higher latitudes. They respond very slowly to changes in the atmosphere.
The ocean plays an essential role for life on earth. It provides over 70 per cent of the oxygen we breathe and over 97 per cent of the world’s water supply . Pollution does not only affect marine life and their environment, it also affects mankind.
Every day, toxic chemicals are entering our oceans. Human activities affect marine ecosystems as a result of pollution, overfishing, the introduction of invasive species, and acidification, which all impact on the marine food web and may lead to largely unknown consequences for the biodiversity and survival of marine life forms.
To survive and prosper, we need healthy oceans. Living oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce climate change impacts.
It is our responsibility to keep the oceans clean and, so far, we suck at it. Best of all, they are things that are easy to stop doing, or to do better.
The diversity and productivity of the world’s oceans is a vital interest for humankind. Our security, our economy, our very survival all require healthy oceans. Let us all support the Government by not using plastic bags and be responsible with our trash.

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