More than 13 million tons of plastic into the ocean each year

Namibians urged to grasp the value of our ocean – World Oceans Day

Floris Steenkamp

Humans are still in the process to try and understand the Ocean. The human race know more of the surface of the moon than what it knows and understands of the seabed. Yet, the Ocean is critical to our survival as it produces 70 % of the oxygen needed by life on the planet and is responsible for weather patterns and food security (fish).

With the above statement the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources on Saturday, during World Ocean Day, called upon Namibians to do their part in conserving the Ocean. Human activities are devastating oceans around the globe directly through pollution. On an indirect level human activities cause global warming, which in turn also negatively influences the health of oceans.
Minister Esau made these remarks during the celebration of World Ocean Day at the Kuisebmond sport stadium. Walvis Bay pulled all the stops to make 2019 World Ocean Day memorable. It commenced on Friday with a clean-up of the Independence Beach north of the harbour town. Simultaneous various schools and private groups committed to clean-ups in and around Walvis Bay (Also See page 8).
On Saturday the Minister addressed the public who attended the celebration and there explained the Blue Economy concept to which Namibia subscribes along with all countries globally. Namibia borders the Atlantic Ocean with a shoreline stretching 1500 km. From the Atlantic Ocean the country derives economic benefits which include fisheries, marine mining, maritime transport, two sea ports, marine and coastal tourism. A Blue Economy dictates that all stake-holders who derive their benefits from the Ocean need to ensure that all processes and procedures conform to keep the ocean clean and healthy.
Pollution and over-fishing are examples of the neglect of the Blue Economy. In this regard, stated the Minister, Namibia is a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement and joined countries in their plight to major greenhouse gas emitting countries to meet their commitments under this Paris Accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Namibia is also a leader in fisheries management to prevent overfishing and during actions such as the World Ocean Day celebrations Namibians are sensitised and educated on the importance to look after our ocean.
Minister Esau pointed out plastic pollution is an issue every Namibian must take serious. Plastic ends up in the oceans of the world – 13 million tons per annum which could lead to a devastating moment in 2050 when there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish.
The Minister took the time to individually thank the stakeholders who carried out exemplary work to make the 2019 World Ocean Day such a big success: The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources staff; the Benguela Current Commission (BCC); the Albatross Task Force (ATF) and Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF).
“This is our ocean. Let us sustainably develop its blue economy potential, for the benefit of all Namibians. Let us protect it from pollution, let us all do our part to keep our ocean healthy, for the benefit of present and future generations of Namibians”, the Minister proclaimed.
Note: as part of World Oceans Day a soccer tournament was played in Walvis Bay over the weekend. See the results in our sport section of today’s edition.

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