Taking action to protect oceans – Solutions from land to sea

On 8 June, all eyes will be on the ocean’s blue horizon. Over 70% of the planet is threatened by growing pollution caused by human activity. On a global scale, about 8 million tonnes of waste ends up in the sea every single day.

For the second year in a row, SUEZ is a key partner of Unesco’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission for this special world day. The Group is strengthening its commitment in the fight against marine pollution by signing a three-year partnership in World Oceans Day worldwide.

Over 270,000 tonnes of plastic floating in the ocean in 2016

In 2015, the association Expédition 7ème Continent warned public opinion of the fact that globally we now produce 300 million tonnes of plastic waste a year. Yet only 5% of this waste is recycled, while 10% ends up in the ocean. So over 270,000 tonnes of plastic floats in marine environments, turning our oceans into a sort of “plastic soup”. Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia, estimates that if we don’t do anything, we will have 155 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean by 2025. We must act now.

The ocean is in fact a victim of pollution that is 80% land and human based. If our plastic waste does not go through proper recycling facilities, it is carried away by rivers and rainwaters to end up in the sea. It then collects in the main ocean gyres. Today, the impact this plastic waste has on biodiversity and the food chain has reached an alarming level.

Les principaux gyres océaniques mondiaux

Key figures
  • 40% of the world’s population lives less than 100 km from the coast
  • over 50% of the world’s oxygen comes from the sea, which absorbs 30% of C02, thus making it the planet’s main climate regulator
  • over 80% of waste found in the ocean is plastic, a material that won’t disappear for several hundred years

« Healthy ocean, healthy planet »

World Oceans Day, organised by the United Nations, is being held at UNESCO headquarters in France on Wednesday 8 June. This 2016 edition will focus on the Paris Agreement and cover the key projects necessary in the lead up to COP 22. All day, climate experts will be speaking on the importance of mobilising society to help protect oceans.

On this occasion, SUEZ, a company committed to protecting resources, has signed a three-year partnership with World Oceans Day, both in France and worldwide.

Towards the end of the day, Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ, will be speaking about the importance of promoting the role of the ocean and marine sciences in the implementation of important international agreements between now and 2030.

Schedule for World Oceans Day:

9.30am “Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet” multiplex conference on YouTube/Expédition Septième Continent
10-11.30am UNESCO Campus
11.15am-1pm Civil Society Round Table: Climate – the Ocean as a solution
2.30-3.45pm Conference in memory of Roger Revelle
4-5pm Round Table on the theme “Communicating on Marine Sciences”
5-6pm Panel de haut niveau : Passer de l’Accord à l’action – Intervention de Jean-Louis Chaussade
7.30pm Conference at the Maison des Océans “Plastics in the ocean: how to deal with the problem at its source?” – Speech by Guillem Grau