Home » INTERNATIONAL MARINE LITTER DATABASE » Year of publication » 2013 » Prime Minister’s closing speech of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Conservation and Protected Areas
http://www.sprep.org/speeches/prime-ministers-closing-speech-of-the-9th-pacific-islands-conference-on-conservation-and-protected-areas Prime Minister's closing speech of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Conservation and Protected Areas Published on 07 December 2013 For too long, our people have taken their beautiful surroundings and abundant natural resources for granted. For too long, we have seen conservation as someone else's responsibility. Paradoxically, we use the vast ocean around us as both a food source and a refuse dump. We take its abundance of seafood and give back sewage and garbage. None of us would dump rubbish in our own backyards yet think nothing of dumping it in the ocean. In my naval career, I've been staggered and angered by the sheer volumeof floating plastic bags, plastic bottles and other cast-offs that I've seen in the water sometimes many kilometres offshore. Someone put them there, sometimes a Pacific Islander with a big smile. Something had to give as time went by and it has. Our ocean, its shoreline and reefs have come under such intense human pressure that whole ecosystems are under threat. It has to stop. Our arable land and fresh water streams and rivers are being polluted and their biodiversity, at times, affected by invasive species. I heartily agree with His Excellency our President when he said at the opening session of this gathering that we need to inculcate a new culture of personal responsibility on the part of every Pacific Islander to end this assault on our living space. I also endorse his call for the global community to finally face up to its responsibility to tackle the issue of climate change.