Today, the global community celebrates World Wildlife Day under the theme “Life below water: for people and planet”.
The theme for this year’s celebration for the first time recognises the importance of marine biodiversity and the threats faced by the marine ecosystem. Over the years, several efforts have targeted saving and conservation of terrestrial species, however their aquatic counterparts have not received as much attention. Interestingly, these aquatic species are equally threatened, some of the threats are not fully understood due to lack of data, especially in the West Africa sub-region.
Plastic pollution has been identified as a serious threat to aquatic life. It has become the new millennium’s tragedy of the commons. This is particularly true with the marine plastic pollution issue, which has seen significant global interest recently. The United Nations has therefore declared plastic pollution among the most critical emerging environmental issues of our time. Plastics accumulating in our oceans and on our beaches have become a global crisis.
Billions of kilos of plastics can be found in swirling convergences that make up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces.
At current rates, the quantity of plastics is expected to outweigh the quantity of fishes in the sea by 2050. This menace has serious implications for marine biodiversity, human health, food safety and our economy. The plastic pollution menace is a tragedy that requires a deliberate and drastic effort to deal with. Unfortunately, Ghana has no policy or a legislative framework to address the plastic pollution menace.