On the occasion of World Oceans Day on 8 June, the United Nations warns that by 2050 plastic will have killed off the world’s marine life.

The United Nations (UN) highlighted on Saturday that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, this projection predicts that in ten years, the sea will hold one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish, which means that in approximately 31 years, plastic will end the existence of marine life on the planet.

This international organization indicates that the oceans are the lungs of the planet, since they generate most of the oxygen that is breathed. They are also an important source of food and medicine and an essential part of the biosphere. For this reason, it aims to promote greater awareness of these ecosystems.

The oceans cover more than 70% of the globe’s surface, but only 1% of the ocean’s surface is protected and they also contain 96% of all the water on Earth, while the rest is fresh water in the form of rivers, lakes and ice. And they annually absorb about 25% of the CO2 added to the atmosphere by human activity, thus reducing the impact of this greenhouse gas on the climate.

Hence, according to the NGOs, there is a greater need than ever for a treaty to protect the oceans. In addition to plastics, the privatization of the seabed, overfishing, freight transport and cruise ship tourism are other major problems of marine biodiversity.

The President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Maria Fernanda Espinosa, has launched the global campaign ‘Play It Out’ to end plastic pollution after decades of overuse and increased consumption of single-use plastics.

As explained by Ethel Eljarrat, a scientist at the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies, the plastics that end up in the oceans, through waste water and river currents, “mostly come from cosmetic articles, toothpaste, hand soap and cleaning products”.

Once in the sea, they are fragmented into tiny pieces the size of a grain of rice, by the action of sunlight and waves, becoming a “real danger”, according to the scientist. The chemicals in these microplastics “tend to accumulate in the tissues of the organisms” and, because they cannot metabolize them, “many of the animals remain infected for life,” and therefore, “they are increasingly contaminated.

Source: El Ciudadano

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