Marine litter a global concern as ’Source-to-Sea’ initiative is developed
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MARINE litter, including plastic litter, has become a matter of increasing global and national concern as a source of marine pollution.
This is according to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment as the globe marked World Oceans Day observed under the theme: “Ocean: Life and Livelihood.”
The department said there was sufficient evidence showing that a large percentage of pollution in the ocean originates from sources on land, which has prompted the department to develop the “Source-to-Sea” initiative.
It focuses on managing litter sources, mainly from upstream catchments where litter gets transported to the ocean and coastal areas by rivers and tributaries that discharge into the ocean.
Minister Barbara Creecy said the Source-to-Sea programme involves multiple government departments at national, provincial, and local level, as well as the private sector including other stakeholders working in priority catchment areas, and providing job opportunities through the Working for the Coast programme.
“As we grow our ocean economy, we also have to be cognisant of the impact of increasing human activity on the health of our oceans. It is essential that we manage our footprint and impact and put in place measures to protect our ocean and coastal ecosystems and biodiversity within the context of sustainable development.
“It is for this reason that South Africa’s Oceans Economy programme includes a specific priority and focus on marine protection and ocean governance,” Creecy said.
As part of the Presidency’s Employment Stimulus Initiative, the department was expanding the Source-to-Sea Programme into 16 coastal districts with the target of creating approximately 1 600 job opportunities and planning was under way to start this initiative next month.
“Our oceans are globally recognised as unique and a hot spot of marine biodiversity. The Atlantic, Southern, and Indian Ocean’s fishing grounds are among the healthiest worldwide. Coastal tourism is and has the potential to be a significant income earner for many African coastal nations,” said the department.