Nairobi Convention Coastal and Marine News Roundup for Western Indian Ocean: 08 – 15 March, 2019

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Report of the Working Group 40 of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) on Guidelines or the monitoring and assessment of plastic litter and microplastics in the ocean

The report is in response to the lack of an internationally agreed methodology to report on the distribution and abundance of plastic litter and microplastics in marine environments. The report provides extensive, practical guidelines and recommendations, for national, inter-governmental and international organisations responsible for managing the impacts of land- and sea-based human-activities on the marine environment, in particular to organisations that are less experienced in marine environmental monitoring. The principle purpose of this report is to provide recommendations, advice and practical guidance, for the establishment of programmes to monitor and assess the distribution and abundance of plastic litter, also referred to as plastic debris, in the ocean. The intention is to promote a more harmonised approach to the design of sampling programmes, the selection of appropriate indicators (i.e. type of sample), the collection of samples or observations, the characterisation of sampled material, dealing with uncertainties, data analysis and reporting the results and also to inform the establishment of national and regional field monitoring programmes.

“There is greater political and social awareness of the issue that plastic pollution is having on the world’s marine environments,” says Director of Science Division and UN Environment’s Chief Scientist (a.i), Jian Liu. “Without a harmonisation of the data being collected globally, the collective response to tackle the marine plastic issue would always be compromised, now with access to shared monitoring guidelines, we will have a clearer picture of the true scale of the problem, and measure the impact of dedicated reduction measures, such as they banning of single use plastics.”

Reliable monitoring allows for the setting of indicators and targets and supports informed decision-making. The need for greater harmonisation of methods has become more critical with the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG14.1.1: floating plastic litter as a global indicator of marine pollution….

The report can be found on the following weblink:

‘Seawater is Coming into our Farms and Killing the Plants’

The water from the wells in Kisakasaka used to be so salty that it would turn people’s teeth yellow. Children, no matter how thirsty, would often refuse to drink. But with no other water source in this farming village near Zanzibar’s capital Stone Town, around 1,000 residents were forced to drink increasingly salty water that gave them headaches and nausea. People’s problems were compounded when more and more crops started failing and animals started getting diseases as the seawater crept further inland and spoiled or washed away fertile soil. The villagers formed a non-governmental organization to fight the effects of climate change and save their village from being battered by the winds and seawater advancing unimpeded due to the lack of tree barriers. To adapt to the rising sea levels, more erratic rains and deforestation causing land degradation and erosion, the group decided to reforest and restore the mangroves, which act as a barrier against floods and storm surges.

The villagers have to cut down some trees to live and make a small living, whether it be for firewood, timber, or charcoal. But they also know that depleting the forests around them could mean the end of having any kind of fresh water and food production on which to survive.

“Because we live on an island, if we don’t conserve the mangroves correctly, the ocean will come and wash away the village,” said Ali….read more

Sixth Global Environment Outlook: The oceans are Impacted by Numerous Human Activities and the most serious impacts are related to Climate Change, Land-based Pollution and Fishing

Human pressures on the health of the oceans have continued to increase over the last decade, in concert with the growing human population and the expanded use of ocean resources (well established). Multiple stressors give rise to cumulative impacts that affect the health of marine ecosystems and diminish nature’s benefits to humans. However, there has been success in the management of some pressures, with concomitant improvements in ocean health, and these provide lessons on which to build. Out of numerous existing pressures we have selected three for particular attention in this Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) assessment: bleaching of coral reefs; marine litter; and challenges to achieving sustainable fisheries in the world’s oceans.

Chapter 7 – Oceans and coasts

Summary for Policy Makers

Complete Global Environment Outlook

Liberia Hosts West Africa’s First Blue Oceans Conference

The Government of Liberia in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia and Conservation International is holding a Blue Oceans Conference in Monrovia from March 18 – 21, 2019. This is the first environmental and marine conference in West Africa, representing a historic moment for the country.

“This conference provides a platform to identify ground-breaking solutions to ensure the sustainable management of our ecosystem. Protecting our beaches, coastal and marine resourcesare key to our survival as a nation and its in direct alignment with Liberia National Development Agenda; the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development there is no time for excuses.” said Nathaniel Blama, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, speaking on behalf of the government’s Steering Committee which he chairs along with  Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA)… more

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