It's National Marine Week in South Africa and the Department of Environmental Affairs have identified the theme for 2018:

"Nature Knows No Waste"

This theme was selected to highlight the global problem of ocean pollution, particularly plastics.

The aim of National Marine Week is to promote education and participation surrounding the health of our oceans. It highlights the need for sustainable use of ocean resources for the benefit of current and future generations.



Create awareness of land-based litter through the concept of Litter Free Land = Litter Free Oceans

Promote community participation in the collection and recycling of plastic waste to improve household incomes and reduce poverty

We all need to recognize the flow of plastics from "Source to Sea". Our individual consumption of plastics leads to pollution in upstream catchments, which flows into storms water drains and rivers, eventually landing up in the ocean.
Below is a diagram from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (See  for more information) which illustrates how our waste lands up in the oceans. 
Both the United Nations and the Department of Environmental Affairs recognize the importance of our oceans for sustainability. The following United Sustainable Development Goals are relevant to Marine Water Week:

SDG #1 is geared to reduce global poverty. Recycling of plastic provides an income base for the unemployed thereby reducing poverty.

SDG #3 Identifies the health and wellbeing of society as indispensable to achieving sustainability. Our individual health is inextricably bound to the health of our environment. The pollution we produce that ends up in our oceans will inevitably land up in our own food through the food web.

SDG #4 recognizes the importance of education in sustainability. The Department of Environmental Affairs aims to educate youth, communities, state organs, and the general public that our individual actions on land are contributing to the flow of plastic pollution in our oceans.

SDG #12 is all about ensuring that our consumption and production are done in a sustainable way. Reducing plastic waste is the responsibility of all levels of society, including all producers and consumers of plastics.

SDG #14 highlights the importance of life below water: Our oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface and contain 97% of the Earth's water. We rely on the oceans for resources such as food. Finally, the oceans help sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and regulate the earth's temperature. 

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