Mangaluru, July 23: International Coastal Cleanup Day, September 17, is a promise to bring cleanliness and purity to nature as a whole.
International Coastal Cleanup began over 30 years ago when communities came together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the litter lying around their coastline.
The Indian Coast Guard regularly organizes the International Coastal Cleanup Day in all coastal states and Indian Union Territories under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Cooperative Program for the South Asia Environment (SACEP) in the South Asia region.
Also, this year the nation celebrates the 75th anniversary of independence and organizes various events. Therefore, bringing together ‘Azadi KaAmrit Mahotsav’ and International Coastal Cleanup Day, the Indian Coast Guard will carry out awareness campaigns in various schools/universities.
As part of this mission, a presentation on “Plastic Free Ocean”, an awareness program was conducted at the Ryan International School in Mangaluru on July 22. The eighth and ninth grade students actively participated in the outreach program. Sooraj Balachandran, Deputy Commander, Indian Coast Guard, Rajdoot Unit, New Mangaluru was the resource person.
Sooraj spoke about the influx of plastics into our environment as it reaches crisis levels, and this is evident through the pollution of our oceans. Hundreds of thousands of marine animals get tangled in plastic waste every year. Floating plastic also accumulates microbes and algae on the surface, which gives it an appetizing smell to some marine animals.
Research also shows that more than 800 coastal and marine species are directly affected by plastic litter through entanglement, ingestion or damage to their habitats. It is estimated that around 3 metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every 15 seconds. There is an immediate need to properly dispose of this plastic waste and reduce its widespread use in the interests of health and the environment.
Participants emphasized the use of less plastic and the need for cleaner beaches for a better marine environment, a litter-free environment and instilling the habit of respecting the coasts which in turn nurtures marine biodiversity.