Tons of plastic in our oceans

Tons of plastic in our oceans

Elisa Maria Giannetto
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From New York to Rome, a global reflection on the health of our planet and especially of our seas, which are plagued by dumping

In the runup to World Oceans Day on 8 June, the United Nations is calling attention to the state of our planet’s waters, which are “at risk like never before.” Plastic is public enemy number one, but unsustainable fishing practices and climate change are also culprits. In fact, carbon emissions are causing sea levels to rise, increasing the acidity of the water and decreasing oxygen levels. The alarm was sounded by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres during a conference on the world’s oceans last Friday at the UN headquarters in New York. He pointed out that at current rates, by 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea than fish. The international organization is appealing to governments and citizens to take action, and for its part recognized actor Adrian Grenier for outstanding activism on this issue by appointing him as the new UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador. Some reassurances came from the IEA in the form of a report claiming that it is technically feasible to eliminate all greenhouse emissions from the global energy sector by 2060. Such a scenario would have a 50% chance of forestalling global temperature rises above 2 degrees centigrade, but it would also require a greater effort to balance the world’s energy mix with cleaner sources. Here too there is no dearth of good examples. More and more big companies are stepping up to the challenge of going 100% green, including Google, which has allowed its Google Street View cars to be used to map pollution street by street. In renewable energy development, a conference in Rome is being held to discuss the investment opportunities in the solar industry of Botswana. Hosted at the headquarters of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO ITPO), the event will take place on 17 June in order to promote a portfolio of projects, including presentations by investors that have already begun doing business in the African country.