The oceans make up almost 70% of the planet. Marine litter can be found almost everywhere. About 12.7 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year. The damage that humans do to marine life and the ecosystem is becoming irreparable. Human actions over the next 10 years will determine the state of the oceans for the next 10,000 years to come.
Plastic from marine litter endangers the health of the sea, oceans and coasts, as well as the economy and community of a country. The problem with plastic is that it never disappears in nature but collects in the environment, especially in the oceans. Sunlight, salt water and waves break the plastic into even smaller pieces. It takes about 500 years for one plastic bottle to break down. Every year, numerous dolphins and seals end up and die in lost fishing nets, but larger pieces of plastic waste remain, which will pollute the seabed and ocean floor for centuries.
• There are now 5.25 trillion macro and micro pieces of plastic in the oceans and 46,000 pieces per square mile of the ocean, weighing up to 269,000 tons
• About 8 million pieces of plastic break into the oceans every day
• A large Pacific mass of rubbish covers an area of 1.6 million square kilometers – about three times the size of France
• The world produces 381 million tons of plastic waste a year – it is projected to double by 2034. 50% of that is disposable plastic, and only 9% is recycled
• 100% of young sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs 88% of the sea surface is polluted with plastic waste
• More than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die each year from plastic pollution
Anyone can contribute to the conservation of marine treasures because recycling helps keep plastics out of the ocean. Reduces the amount of “new” plastic in the optics. In addition to the proper sorting of waste, daily choices (purchase of food that is not packaged in plastic packaging, clothing and furniture made of sustainable materials, etc.) also make a great contribution.
Cigarette butts are the world’s largest ocean pollutants. The tobacco industry is trying to find ecological filters (made of hemp and wood pulp) but so far without success.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cigarette filters do not serve a useful health function. The tobacco industry created them in the 1950s as a marketing tool in an effort to make smoking “healthier.” But they are more harmful than ever because there are too many of them.
It is estimated that 5.6 trillion cigarettes are produced worldwide annually. Most contain a filter made of cellulose acetate, a plastic-like material that takes a decade to break down.
Once smoked, the cigarette is reduced to a foul-smelling, harmful cigarette butt that is usually carelessly discarded. Probably two-thirds of all cigarette butts are not disposed of properly. Across the rains and rivers end up in the oceans.
Add to that the huge summer tourist migrations that leave millions of cigarette butts on the beaches. In the past thirty years, 60 million cigarette butts have been removed from beaches. The others were not found. As the cigarette is smoked, toxic chemicals such as arsenic, nicotine, lead and heavy metals are concentrated in the filter. They kill marine life in the seas. And through the fish on the menu, they also poison the man.
The tobacco industry is trying to find ecological filters, such as hemp and wood pulp, but so far without success. We learned about the damage caused by plastic drinking straws, disposable plastic bags and plastic water bottles in the marine environment of the world. We are now slowly eradicating this danger. It is time to solve the problem of cigarette butts with filters.
The WMO (The World Meteorological Organisation) is organizing every year the contest called „Calendar photo competition“(which is now closed for 2021 contest). Voting is currently underway on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
The WMO photo competition is now open for public voting! We are a bit later than usual this year, but the selection is better than ever.
We received more than 1 100 entries from all over the world. Many are absolutely stunning and most illustrate the theme “The Ocean, our climate and weather,” which is the topic of World Meteorological Day 2021.
WMO is currently marking its 70th anniversary. An internal WMO jury has therefore shortlisted 70 photos based on technical quality and clarity, visual impact and flair, and which reflect regional diversity.
We are now publishing the shortlisted photos on Facebook and Instagram, allowing our followers to vote for their favourites. The competition will also be promoted via Twitter and other U.N. social media accounts.
The public vote is open until 31 October to give you plenty of time to have your say.
The WMO jury (which consists of communications experts, photographers, meteorologists, marine and atmospheric scientists) will make the final decision on the 13 photos for inclusion in the calendar (one for the cover and one for each month).
The outcome will be based on a combination of the social media votes and technical and artistic merit and also reflect geographical balance in accordance with WMO’s status as a United Nations agency.
Winning entries will feature in the WMO 2021 online calendar. They will be showcased on the WMO website and social media platforms and feature prominently in our World Meteorological Day 2021 celebrations.
WMO will also promote them among other U.N. agencies and showcase them during the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to be held from 2021-2030.
As always, there will be lots of recognition but no financial reward, as per the submission guidelines.
Since it was launched in 2014, the WMO calendar competition has gained in stature and recognition. The United Nations regularly features our photos. Some National Meteorological and Hydrological Services also run their own photo contests and feed these entries to WMO.
WMO thanks everyone who submitted images in a year overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing impacts of climate change.
We live on a beautiful planet. Let’s protect it.