UN chief: Save the oceans to avert 'global catastrophe'

The five-day meeting is the first bid by the United Nations to address the toughest problems facing our oceans, from coral bleaching and plastic pollution to overfishing and rising seas due to climate change.

UN chief: Save the oceans to avert 'global catastrophe'

World Bulletin / News Desk

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged countries to put aside national gain to save the oceans and avert a "global catastrophe" as he opened the first UN ocean conference.

"We must put aside short-term national gain, to prevent long-term global catastrophe," Guterres told the gathering at the UN General Assembly.

"Conserving our oceans and using them sustainably is preserving life itself."

Guterres raised alarm over the state of the world's oceans, saying pollution, overfishing and climate change are causing severe damage and that "the situation is getting worse."

A recent study showed that plastic could outweigh fish in the seas by 2050 if nothing is done, he said.

Rising sea levels threaten entire countries, fisheries are collapsing and coastal ecosystems are under unsustainable levels of stress from industry, fishing, mining, shipping and tourism, Guterres said.

The first step to turn the tide is "ending the artificial dichotomy between economic demands and the health of our seas," he asserted.

"The conservation and sustainable use of marine resources are two sides of the same coin."

Guterres called for concrete steps, from expanding marine protected areas to the management of fisheries, reducing pollution and cleaning up plastic waste.

UN member-states are working on a "call to action" from governments, civil society and businesses that commit to taking steps to clean up the oceans and work preserve what is arguably the Earth's most important resource.

Targets include protecting at least 10 percent of coastal and marine environments by 2020, reducing ocean pollution and strengthening ways to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Haziran 2017, 00:18