Keeping beaches trash-free must for environmental and human health: Minister Mushahidullah Khan

Karachi, September 16, 2017 (PPI-OT): Federal Climate Change Minister, Senator Mushahidullah Khan on Saturday said that empowering people to take an active role in the preservation and cleaning up of oceans are critical for conservation of the ocean resources and the economic, food, and environmental services these water bodies provide.

“However, we must realise the unprecedented significance of raising public awareness at all levels about environmental and health benefits of keeping our coastal beaches trash-free and checking contamination of oceans,” the Minister said while addressing a ceremony with regard to the International Coastal Clean-up Day held here at the Sea View beach.

He told participants at the event hailing from various civil society organisations including schools and government departments that ’coastal Clean-up Day is your chance to really make a difference, and help others to do the same’. The minister added that the coastal clean-up and beautification event must be tapped as an opportunity to transform behaviours towards cleaner, healthier ocean waters and coastal surroundings.

“We must keep playing our part to beaches free from trash, particularly plastic trash like straws, empty beverage bottles tea cups and plastic bags to help reduce the amount of garbage that gets into the ocean by hauling it away. We can also check with local government and non-governmental environmental conservation organizations to get tips and techniques to help us all be more conscientious about our living style and the negative impacts it casts on the oceans,” the climate change minister Mushahidullah Khan urged the participants present at the event.

The event was organised jointly by different government and non-governmental organizations including Ministry of Climate Change, Sindh government, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN – Pakistan), WWF-Pakistan, United Nations Environment Programme and Engro.

Coastal Clean-up Day was established by the Ocean Conservancy, an organisation that work to help protect the ocean from the challenges it faces every year. It serve as a voice for the ocean, speaking globally of the issues in collaboration with different national, regional and international organisations and lobby with each to ask governments, media to join the global voice or call for keep the beaches keen, beautiful and uncontaminated for trash free ocean.

He expressed his serious concern about the way the ocean and the ocean resources are being ruthlessly polluted to the complete disadvantage of the environment, ocean lie and humans. Mushahidullah Khan said every year millions of gallons of untreated wastewater that flows into oceans and tons of garbage winds up in these water bodies, over 60 percent of it being plastic material.

“Plastics especially last a very long time in the ocean, and according to estimates of environmental organisations some 50,000 individual pieces of plastic litter for every square mile of ocean. Besides, plastics are very lethal to marine life, which lead to deaths of more than a million birds and over 100,000 seals, turtles, and whales, and a huge number of fish in our oceans globally,” he highlighted.

However, the annual international “Coastal Clean-up Day” provides us a great opportunity keep our beaches clean of trash and encourages us to get out to our beaches and help to limit this problem by cleaning up the garbage that has washed up on shore, and that left by visitors every day, he added.

The climate change minister Mushahidullah Khan said, “We must understand that the trash in the oceans badly impacts the world on many scales, including poising food sources, harming wildlife, humans, and impacting the livelihood of those who work on the ocean. More importantly, it leads to economic damage by affecting tourism and recreation and the money they bring into those poor and marginalized coastal communities. Therefore, solving these issues need us to take initiatives on our part to wipe out the sources of the trash that disfigure our beaches and ruin the ocean and ocean resources.”

He also appreciated the over 700 volunteers from different educational institutions and organisations, who picked thousands of straws, plastic beverage cups, tea cups, plastic grocery bags and stirrers, which pose a serious danger to animals like sea turtles, albatross and fish who can eat them.

Addressing to the volunteers, Mushahidullah Khan said, “Although today’s coastal clean-up day is definitely a dirty job, it must have come to prove rewarding one in the end knowing you helped to make a difference and let yourself and your parents and the society be proud of you all! By volunteering, you have made me really proud of you by collecting trash from cigarettes to plastic bags to glass bottles and more and making the beach look neat and clean.”

Appreciation certificates were also distributed among the volunteers by the climate change minister Mushahidullah Khan. Earlier, the event set off with beach clean-up and clean beach walk, which was also joined by participating government and non-governmental organisations. Among others, Secretary Climate Change Ministry Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, Inspector General Forest Syed Mahmood Nasir, Country head of IUCN – Pakistan Mahmood Akhtar Cheema and others also spoke on the occasion.

For more information, contact:
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-9245565

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