Ocean Interviews

Interviews with ocean pollution related organisations - Maritime New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment

I’ve been conducting a series of short interviews with ocean pollution related organisations. Read on to see what Maritime New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment have to say.

What is Maritime NZ doing to help the plastic pollution issue?

Maritime NZ regulates commercial ships and enforces international rules for these ships which include waste disposal. For garbage, including plastics – there is a ban on any disposal into the ocean, except for food waste that is ground up very small.

We also educate recreational boaties to take any waste home with them, not disposing of it on the water.

What is one tip you would like to share about ocean pollution mitigation?

For recreational boaties: Bag it, bring it back, bin it!

For more information about where ocean plastic pollution comes from, this is a great article: http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2017/10/10-rivers-causing-95-pct-of-ocean-plastic-pollution.html

Interview with Hono Tātaki (Resource Efficiency and Innovation), Ministry for the Environment:

What marine animals do you think the are the most impacted because of ocean pollution?

There are many marine animals which are affected in different ways from the different types of pollutions that we see degrading our oceans and beaches. Often these pollution issues are from land, freshwater and marine environments. An example of this is the micro plastics that go out to sea from our water ways, which then have detrimental effects to all ocean creatures. Many small species of fish and other marine life eat such plastics. This can have flow on effects throughout the food chain and can affect us eventually when we fish and then eat species from the ocean that have ingested these plastics.

We also see in other areas where larger species are affected from other forms of rubbish. Commonly reported on is sea turtles caught up in fishing lines and other plastics which has ahuge effect in the way these animals live such as swimming and breeding.

What is one tip you would like to share about ocean pollution mitigation?

In regards to your second question, here at the Ministry for the Environment, we are working to minimise waste and litter around New Zealand. Here at the Ministry we are encouraging industries and consumers to take responsibility for their products and any waste that comes from the products. This is called Product Stewardship. These efforts overall, help not only to minimise the waste we need to deal with in our society, but the plastics and other types of wastes that reaches the oceans.

Examples of this are phasing out plastic bags. We are now seeing supermarkets and other retailers cutting down the supply of single-use plastic bags. Plastic bags are an example of a way that we can look to cut down on our waste footprints by using a reusable bag. Other examples also include the use of reusable coffee cups.