MCS’s vision is for seas rich in wildlife, abundant fish stocks and pollution free beaches and bathing waters - seas that are fit for wildlife to thrive in and for people to enjoy, and seas that will support future generations with abundant resources.
This is a vision that IMPA shares, and one that we are proud to support and keen to promote.
Dr Sue Kinsey, MCS Pollution Policy Officer, explains how the maritime industry and the marine charity can work together for healthier seas.
The maritime industry needs healthy and clean seas in which to operate. Whether IMPA members are working directly on the waves or supplying those that do from the land, a secure future for our oceans is vital. As MCS also wants to see healthy seas it’s clear that IMPA and MCS will have plenty of common ground – or should that be water!
One thing MCS has been working on for many years, via our Beachwatch beach cleaning and surveying programme, is helping people better understand how we all need to take responsibility for what we put into our oceans.
Under Marpol Annexe V it is internationally illegal to ‘fly tip’ at sea. We need to be aware of what is going overboard because although it may disappear from our sight – it appears elsewhere and can have devasting effects.
Litter of all types and sizes can now be found in every ocean and shore in the world. Commercial ships pass through it risking propeller fouling and vessel damage. Every ocean on the planet has a natural gyre, and they have now become swirling vortexes of rubbish.
The most notorious of these is the North Pacific Subtropical which is estimated to be 7 to 9 million square miles. In reality, although large pieces of rubbish are found, most of it has degraded into small to microscopic size pieces and the patches are in reality more of an ‘litter soup’ extending through the gyre system for hundreds if not thousands of miles and down into the water column.
The less rubbish that ends up in our oceans, the less risk to our business. MCS would love to see IMPA organisations take part in Beachwatch beach cleans as the team from Alexony Maritime did earlier this year in Felixstowe. As well as a clear result being a clean beach, their support helped us collect vital data about marine litter so we can continue to raise the issue with governments and industry.
MCS has long urged consumers to use less plastic bags and retail businesses to reduce the amount of single use carrier they give away. We also want to see less packaging generally. Those involved in supply chain and memebers of IMPA are likely to be always looking for new innovations in their area.
The level of packaging and the ease of recycling are two key areas that could help reduce the impact of litter on our seas. Minimal packaging and better recycling facilities both on vessels and in port will mean less ticks in the ‘shipping litter’ section of the MCS Beachwatch survey and we have plenty of suggestions of how we can all work together to reduce global litter at sea.
If your company wants to get involved, why not become a corporate member of the charity? The benefits include regular updates about MCS conservation work, a welcome pack including a personalised framed certificate, invites to events and opportunities to engage directly in our volunteer projects such as Beachwatch.
We have a shared member already, Graig Shipping, and their Commercial Coordinator, Steven Halstead, had this to say by way of a recommendation:
“Sustainable development is important to us and our industry, which is constantly trying to improve environmental performance. A number of staff, including myself, are keen water/sea users and that adds to our desire to continue the company’s support. We feel that being members of the MCS fits well with the company ethos and the membership package we have certainly meets our needs.”
To find out more about the charity, go to www.mcsuk.org or email email@example.com