plastic fish?Greece to establish Marine Corps Park at World Oceanic Congress

plastic fish?Greece to establish Marine Corps Park at World Oceanic Congress

ATHENS – Though they don’t realize it, Greeks, residents and tourists may be eating the equivalent weight of a credit card’s worth of plastic with their salt and fish consumption, the country said, according to world officials in the capital. plans to launch two marine parks during the meeting.

Greece is the host country for the 2024 World Conference on Ocean Conservation, and these parks are expected to be among the 120 participating countries and organizations presented at the “Our Ocean Conference”, which will be held from April 15th to 17th. It is part of a multi-billion euro pledge.

They include 12 heads of state, about 50 ministers and officials, and representatives of 120 countries and organizations, including the United Nations, European Union and NATO, Agence France-Presse (AFP) said.

Despite Greece’s failure to stop plastic waste from entering the ocean, Environment and Energy Minister Theodoros Skyrakakis told reporters: “This is the biggest environmental conference ever held (in Greece). ” he said.

Mr Skyrakakis said the marine park is part of Greece’s commitments and will be established in 2025 for marine mammals and turtles in the Ionian Sea and seabirds in the Aegean Sea, and will be “the largest in the Mediterranean”. Stated.

Greece has been repeatedly fined by the European Commission for environmental issues and was referred to the EU Court of Justice in December 2023 for failing to implement marine spatial planning guidelines.

Nine environmental groups, including WWF and Greenpeace, welcomed the announcement of the new park in a statement as an “important initiative”, although the Ionian Sea Park will be built in an area where hydrocarbon exploration is permitted. he pointed out.

“There can be no protected areas with hydrocarbon extraction,” the group said. Skyrakakis said the park being considered is “much larger than any mining area.” Marine mammals will be given a very high level of protection. ”

Since the first Our Ocean conference in 2014, participating countries have pledged more than $130 billion in maritime aid, Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis told reporters about the park’s importance.

He said Greece would place special emphasis on sustainable tourism, microplastics, green shipping and the Mediterranean environment this year, but did not mention past failures in these areas.

“We, especially those living in coastal areas, swallow the equivalent of a plastic card every week,” Gerapetritis said, referring to the amount of microplastics found in fish.

“And through salt, too,” Skyrakakis added.

Observers said Our Ocean is the only conference that deals with all ocean-related issues under one roof, and the previous conference in Panama in 2023 put 190 targets on ocean protection, according to AFP. He pointed out that $1 billion was promised, but the amount was not reported.

These included projects on sustainable fishing, fighting pollution, marine security and protected areas. “Other species can’t do anything, they just adapt. Humans have to react,” Skyrakakis said.

The European Union has announced that it will spend 816.5 million euros ($887.36 million) on ocean-related projects in 2023, some of which will be used to protect marine biodiversity and address the effects of climate change on the oceans. These include satellites to observe ice melting and monitor the climate. Change effects.

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