Written by Boris Perišić

The 2022 UN Ocean conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, took place from June 27 – July 1st, in Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

During this 5-day event more than 6000 officials, scientists, and environmental activist from 120 nations discussed variety of topics from protecting biodiversity, state of world fisheries and aquaculture to leveraging global investment to build resilient coral reef ecosystems.

Speaking at the opening of the conference the UN secretary general António Guterres said: “Sadly, we have taken the ocean for granted and today we face what I would call an ocean emergency. We must turn the tide.” 

He blamed the “egoism” of some countries was hampering efforts to agree a long-awaited treaty to protect the world’s oceans.

Sea level rise, ocean heating, ocean acidification and greenhouse gas concentrations all reached record levels last year. Marine species are disappearing, including sharks and rays, whose populations declined by more than 70% over the past 50 years. Roughly 80% of the world’s wastewater is discharged into the sea without any treatment, while at least 8m tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year.

These figures are more than alarming. “Without drastic action, the plastic could outweigh all the fish in the ocean by 2050,” Guterres warned: “We cannot have a healthy planet without a healthy ocean”, he said in his opening remarks.

UN conference reminded the world that measures needed to protect the oceans are running late and countries were urged to accelerate their implementation.

At the end of this conference a declaration was published saying that “greater ambition is required at all levels to address the state of the ocean” .

So, what can we, the world travelers do about this? How can we help the oceans?

We can start by promoting responsible tourism that respects environment and support the local economies. We can also spread the word about the negative impact of cruise ships. Anyone who like to travel was at some point tempted by the idea of a vacation on a cruise ship.

We see the commercial with a big white cruise ship in some tropical paradise. What these commercials don’t tell us is that one cruise ship pollutes daily the air as much as one million cars and the air quality on deck can be as bad as the world’s most polluted cities.

Cruise ships release toxic waste into our waters, fill the planet with carbon dioxide, and kill marine wildlife. Cruise ships’ environmental impact is never ending, and they continue to get bigger.

Therefore, please think about the footprint that you leave when travelling, and of course, always collect the plastic from the beaches.

Safe travels!

Boris Perišić is a professional Tour Guide for Europe and Morocco
with great passion for history and environment .

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