If current marine plastic pollution trends continue, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish by 2050, predicts the World Economic Forum. In 2016, South Asia generated 26 million tonnes of plastic waste and unsurprisingly this has led to the creation of a “dead zone” – an area where oxygen levels are too low to sustain marine life – in the Bay of Bengal. Dinushka Paranavitana argues that the solution to the rising problem of land-based marine plastic pollution in Sri Lanka is a combined force of banning single-use plastics, proper waste management, and the use of sustainable ecofriendly alternatives.
This article, written to mark World Oceans Day, examines the concept of ‘Blue Economy’ and its importance to an island nation like Sri Lanka, which heavily relies on its marine resources. The writer also discusses the challenges faced by Sri Lanka, when adopting a blue economy strategy.
Last week saw the hosting of the World Oceans Summit in Singapore by The Economist newspaper in association with National Geographic, which brought together over 200 global leaders, including scientists, businesses, and representatives from governments, NGOs, and other key stakeholders to talk about sustainability, economics and the world’s oceans. These issues are very relevant to Sri Lanka, being an island surrounded by one of the world’s largest oceans.