World Maritime Week launched with major focus on protecting the ocean

The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) on Sunday held a clean-up exercise along the Kingston Seawall in commemoration of World Maritime Week, which will be celebrated under the theme: ‘Marpol at 50.’

MARAD’s Director General, Stephen Thomas told the Department of Public Information (DPI), that the exercise is aimed at sensitising the general public on how to properly protect the ocean and its surroundings.

Director General of MARAD, Stephen Thomas, and a family who joined in the cleaning exercise

“This exercise that we are doing today on the beach, we would classify in our term as Marpol Annex Five, meaning it deals with garbage,” Thomas said.

For context, the Marpol Annex Five deals with the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships. It helps to implement strategies on how to eliminate the disposal of plastic in the oceans and save and protect marine species.

Working to keep the seawall free from garbage

The marine strategy is 50 years old, it was created in 1973 to stop ship operators from throwing their garbage into the sea.

Thomas noted that most of the garbage picked up was some sort of plastic wrapping or container. He acknowledged that they are not necessarily from ships but from shore-based sources.

“Plastic is totally prohibited from the maritime space. As you know it’s not degradable, it takes thousands of years to decompose and as a result, it could suffocate and kill marine life,” the director general explained.

Members from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) participating in the clean-up exercise

Thomas hopes the exercise is far-reaching so everyone can get on board to prevent pollution in the sea and on land, equally.

He is urging persons to practice better garbage disposal techniques to help the environment and its resources to flourish and be aesthetically pleasing to locals and visitors. The department was also joined by representatives of the Guyana Defence Force.

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