12 June 2018
SOLOMONS AT RISK FROM PLASTIC IN THE OCEAN
An article in the Island Sun newspaper this week gave some stark statistics on the estimated amount of plastic in the ocean which, according to the UN Environment Agency, it was claimed 13 million tones end up in the seas.
The Sun’s article went on to describe the threat plastic poses to coral, marine wildlife, to the planet and to humans.
Real evidence of the threat plastic poses to marine wildlife became evident in Southern Thailand in the past week
A small male pilot whale was found barely alive in waters close to the border with Malaysia. It was found to have swallowed more than 80 plastic bags and despite efforts by the Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources the whale died.
An autopsy revealed the 80 plastic bags weighed up to eight kilograms (18 pounds) in the creature’s stomach.
A marine biologist said the bags had made it impossible for the whale to eat any nutritional food.
Solomon Islands is hugely dependent of its fishing industry and fishing as a source of food but currently uses too much plastic and one must question how many marine animals are perishing already in local waters after ingesting plastic?
It is very much hoped the current review of legislation, including the Environment Act, will soon lead to practical and cost effective ways to curtail the use of plastics and begin recycling plastics currently disposed of as domestic and industrial rubbish.
I have noted moves in the right direction have begun in the Western Province and in Vanuatu
The New Zealand government recently proposed helping its Pacific island neighbours with rubbish disposal to prevent plastic pollution in the ocean and I would encourage the Solomon Islands government to get such assistance.