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Marine Life & Conservation

Parliamentary Committee calls for Urgent Action on Plastic Waste

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A UK-wide scheme to charge a refundable deposit when we buy drinks bottles and other containers has been urged by the Environmental Audit Committee, and welcomed by the Marine Conservation Society. The Committee also told MPs they must put a much greater onus on plastic producers to make only products that can be fully and easily recycled, and for tap water to be made more readily available.

Plastic drinks bottles, along with caps, lids and other plastic on-the-go drink and food waste items, consistently feature in the top ten of litter types strewn on UK beaches, and account for up to 20% of all rubbish found in Marine Conservation Society beach cleans and surveys.

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas at the Marine Conservation Society, says:

“We wholeheartedly support the findings of the Committee. UK consumers use 13 billion plastic bottles each year. These are generally used just once and thrown away – a deposit return system, coupled with increasing access to free drinking water, and an effective system to discourage waste and encourage good packaging designs, would reduce this growing plastic tide.”

The Marine Conservation Society says that support for such a scheme is high. 73% of the British public, questioned in a YouGov poll for MCS, support the introduction of deposit return systems across the UK for single-use drinks bottles (plastic and glass) and cans. That’s almost 3 out of 4 people, with most support coming from those aged over 45 years.

In the Environmental Audit Committee report, ‘Plastic Bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide’, the Committee calls on the Government to:

  • Introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic drinks bottles
  • Introduce a requirement for all public premises that serve food and drink to provide free drinking water
  • Increase the number of public water fountains
  • Make producers financially responsible for the plastic packaging they produce
  • Phase in a mandated 50% recycled plastic content in plastic bottles, to be achieved by 2023 at the latest.

The report says that the UK’s rate of recycling for plastic bottles has stalled for the past five years, while bottle consumption has risen, and that the UK urgently needs to stop bottles being littered or landfilled. The Committee is calling on the Government to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic drinks bottles with the aim of boosting the recycling rate to 90%.

The Marine Conservation Society says that such a system must be developed to operate across the United Kingdom in one harmonised system, with Scottish Government already committed to a timescale in implementing a deposit return system.

The Marine Conservation Society backs all of the recommendations in the report, and has long demanded attention be given to supply chain and product design so that items are designed to be repaired, reused and then, at end-of-life, easily recycled. MCS has also called for a minimum recycled content in plastic products, and a producer responsibility system where the producers and consumers pay the full costs of the collection and disposal of products.

At present, taxpayers bear the brunt – around 90% – of costs to deal with waste plastic. Manufacturers and suppliers only contribute 10% of the cost of disposal and recycling. Dr Laura Foster says, “We must see producers’ contribution to waste disposal represent the full cost of the disposal, and incentivise good design to ensure ease of recyclability”.

In a survey conducted by Yougov, commissioned by the Marine Conservation Society, over half of all respondents said they would be likely to make use of water refill stations at shopping centres (54%) and outdoor recreation spaces (53%), closely followed by train and bus stations (48%), supermarkets (47%), cafes/restaurants (46%) and service stations (43%) if they were available.

The Marine Conservation Society is calling for a wide programme of action on plastics for Government and industry, detailed at www.mcsuk.org/stop-the-plastic-tide.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Exhibition: Protecting UNESCO Marine World Heritage through scientific research

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From now until 30 October, the photo exhibition “Protecting UNESCO Marine World Heritage through scientific research” features 21 photographs at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, as well as a digital edition.

Exceptional photographs highlight how innovative marine experts and scientists take the pulse of the ocean by exploring ecosystems, studying the movement of species, or revealing the hidden biodiversity of coral reefs. Scientific discoveries are more important than ever for the protection and sustainable conservation of our Marine World Heritage. This memorable exhibition comes ahead of the launch, in 2021, of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (“Ocean Decade”). The exhibition was jointly developed by UNESCO and the Principality of Monaco.

The 50 marine sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, distributed across 37 countries, include a wide variety of habitats as well as rare marine life still largely unknown. Renowned for their unmatched beauty and emblematic biodiversity, these exceptional ecosystems play a leading role in the field of marine conservation. Through scientific field research and innovation, concrete actions to foster global preservation of the ocean are being implemented locally in these unique natural sites all over the world. They are true symbols of hope in a changing ocean.

Since 2017, the Principality of Monaco supports UNESCO to strengthen conservation and scientific understanding of the marine sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. This strategic partnership allows local management teams to benefit from the results obtained during the scientific missions of Monaco Explorations. The partnership also draws international attention to the conservation challenges facing the world’s most iconic ocean sites.

The exhibition invites viewers to take a passionate dive into the heart of the scientific missions led by Monaco Explorations in four marine World Heritage sites: Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Philippines), Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Colombia), Rock Islands Southern Lagoon (Palau), and the Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France). It is also an opportunity to discover the work of a megafauna census; the study of the resilience of coral reefs and their adaptation in a changing climate; the exploration of the deep sea; and the monitoring of large marine predators through satellite data.

To visit the Digital Exhibition click here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – Inspiring Hope For Coral Reefs: a conversation with Ken Nedimyer, a CNN Hero for “Defending The Planet”

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A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.


Inspiring Hope For Coral Reefs: a conversation with Ken Nedimyer, a CNN Hero for “Defending The Planet”.

This episode of the Blue Earth Podcast is a conversation with Ken Nedimyer, a CNN Hero for “Defending The Planet”.

It’s a story about a former commercial fisherman who proactively worked with state and federal groups to ensure a sustainable future.

His observations about reefs in jeopardy led to possible ways to save them. He became an innovative coral reef advocate and coral reef nursery innovator, not only in the Florida Keys but around the globe.

Ken moved to Florida as a boy, he fell in love with the ocean and its many creatures. After earning his degree in Biology from Florida Atlantic University, he headed south to the Keys and never looked back.


Richard E Hyman Bio

Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.

Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.

Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.


You can find more episodes and information at www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.

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