President Solih expresses concern over ocean pollution

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohame Solih. (Photo/President's Office)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has expressed concern over the pollution of the ocean with plastic.

Speaking at the United Nations Biodiversity Summit held virtually, President Solih called to harness the scientific knowledge and technological prowess to implement sustainable development strategies that are viable in the long term.

At the Summit, the President highlighted that the Maldives takes its climate commitments seriously and that it will continue to engage with our global partners to preserve biodiversity and address the climate emergency.

The President noted that this is why the Maldives’ presented its Climate Resilient Island Initiative on the sidelines of the 74th General Assembly last year.

He reiterated that this initiative provides a model that other small island states can use to develop sustainably, by conserving eco-rich areas, phasing out single-use plastics, and rapidly transiting to renewable energy.

He also shed light on the Maldives’ ongoing partnership with the Blue Prosperity Coalition, a global alliance of ocean experts dedicated to growing blue economies and preserving the ocean’s health.

The Maldives has been working with the coalition to conduct scientific expeditions that will inform our blue economic policies and maritime spatial plans going forward so that our development occurs without compromising our natural assets.

The President then emphasized that the Maldives is deeply concerned by plastic pollution, especially in the ocean.

He cited the alarming fact that over 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year. Such concerns are what led the Maldives to become a founder and co-chair of the Group of Friends to Combat Marine Plastic Pollution, and why the administration is committed to delivering on its pledge to phase out single-use plastic by the year 2023.

In conclusion, the President called on the international community to be more respectful towards nature and to heed a key lesson from this pandemic.

The President said that COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease to which humanity was exposed by our continued disrespect for nature's boundaries.

He expressed his conviction that if we do not do right by the earth and become better stewards of nature's gifts, we will face similar and possibly worse consequences in the future.