Celebrating and Protecting the Ocean!

Monday, 08 June 2020

- World Oceans Day
- COVID-19 Update
- 2020 UN Ocean Conference

Hello fellow ocean lovers, and Happy World Oceans Day!

Thirteen years ago, COARE held its first local event celebrating World Oceans Day. Just two years later, World Oceans Day was formally recognized by the United Nations as an international day of observance, and continues to be an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits derived from the ocean as well as the challenges faced by the international community in protecting our ocean from human impact.

It goes without saying that these are unprecedented times, and we're faced with new previously unimagined challenges as we navigate our health and well-being.

We're sure that many of you have noticed a regression in the practice of a number of conservation principles, particularly around the concept of reusables.

It's clear that the Plastics Industry has been exploiting the situation to take advantage of fears around COVID-19. To add insult to injury, they have also had the nerve to seek government assistance. In the U.S. alone, they're asking for a billion dollar bailout. Plastic does not inherently make something clean and safe. The truth is, we are constantly learning more about this virus and its transmissibility, and for industry to use this as an opportunity to increase profits for the petrochemical and plastics sectors is not only unconscionable – it's dangerous. What we do know is that there is no substitute for strict hygiene and proper social distancing.

It is important to remember that just because a material is made from single-use plastic does not make it less likely to transmit viral infections during use; in fact, plastic surfaces appear to allow coronaviruses to remain infectious for particularly long periods compared to other materials. COARE is working diligently with numerous other organizations around the world to determine the best path forward for impacted conservation efforts, including the reduction of single-use plastics. In the meantime, we ask you all to be diligent in doing your best to avoid unnecessary waste. For example, if you're ordering takeout to bring home, or are having food delivered, ensure that they're not giving you any plasticware.

2020 United Nations Ocean Conference

Before the Pandemic began, our Executive Director had the privilege of attending the preparatory meetings for the 2020 UN Ocean Conference. There, he addressed the United Nations on behalf of numerous organizations including the Center for International Environmental Law, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Environmental Investigation Agency, Plastic Pollution Coalition, OceanCare, Sciaena, Plastic Change International, and Gallifrey Foundation, to promote a Global Treaty on Plastics.

The UN Ocean Conference was scheduled to take place this past week, but was postponed because of the global pandemic. In fact, most of our in-person meetings, including the UN Environment Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics, have been canceled, postponed, or restructured to be virtual. Like most of you, we're spending more time than ever on Zoom. We're committed to continuing our work virtually, and look forward to the day we can reconvene together in person.


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Wishing you healthy oceans,
Your friends at COARE

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