MANILA, Philippines – Millions of jobs closely tied to the seas are being threatened by climate change and pollution, according to Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (Pemsea).
The Pemsea report indicated that the ocean economy of 9 Asian countries is estimated to be worth around $1.5 trillion. Over 50 million people in China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia are employed in ocean industries such as fisheries, marine tourism, and shipping.
The potential of these economies is being undermined by climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and destructive fishing. (READ: Plastic wasteland: Asia’s ocean pollution crisis)
“A healthy ocean provides food and jobs. It provides for everyone’s needs, not just for those living on the coasts, but also for the future,” Aimee Gonzales, Pemsea Executive Director said.
The report also said that 6 countries in East Asia are among the top 10 contributors to plastic pollution in the world. The Philippines ranks 3rd, just behind China and Indonesia. (READ: PH among top nations dumping plastic into seas)
The amount of marine pollution caused by plastic trash is predicted to increase tenfold by 2025, unless waste management practices are improved. (READ: Gov’t puts trash traps, warns ‘esteroristas’ in Pasig River)
The report said that a downtrend in rainfall, sea levels rising at 1-3 millimeters per year, and increased frequency of heat waves, droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones have caused extensive damage to property, assets and human life.
“Due to these factors, poor and vulnerable coastal communities face disproportionate losses from coastal and marine degradation due to their high dependence on ocean resources,” the report said.
Gonzales urged people to get involved in World Oceans Day celebrations. He also recommended “simple” solutions like the use of reusable water bottles, avoiding the use of plastic straws, storing food in reusable or non-disposable containers and bringing reusable bags when shopping. – Rappler.com
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