Aquarium full of plastic
Hellabrunn Zoo will participate in the World Aquariums Against Marine Litter campaign, which was launched by the European Commission for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Monaco on Thursday. As part of the campaign, the zoo will exhibit a tank full of plastic waste in its aquarium for the next five days. The aim is to raise awareness of environmental pollution caused by plastic waste in the oceans.
This year, the Our Ocean conference will be hosted by the European Union for the first time in Malta from 5 to 6 October 2017. Since its launch in 2014 as a UN initiative, the annual conference has focused on the pollution of the oceans. The World Aquariums Against Marine Litter campaign was launched in Monaco on 27 July 2017 under the auspices of Prince Albert of Monaco. Nearly 100 zoos and aquariums around the world will participate in the campaign, including Hellabrunn Zoo. "Our goal is to raise awareness among our visitors about the problem of plastic waste. We also offer tips on how each can play their part in reducing the amount of plastic we use," says zoo director Rasem Baban. "The aquarium filled with plastic also clearly shows what we dare not imagine: if we do nothing to stop the pollution of our oceans, it won't be long before there will be more plastic than fish swimming in the seas."
Researchers predict that the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050. It is estimated that 10 million tonnes of plastic waste is added to the oceans each year. This corresponds to about one truck load of garbage per minute or 400 kilograms per second. Every year millions of marine creatures die from the effects of ocean pollution, including birds, seals, whales, dolphins and turtles. In some regions there are already six times more plastic waste than plankton. According to estimates, 99 per cent of seabirds could have plastic in their gut in the next 30 years.
Visitors can view the aquarium filled with plastic waste at the Hellabrunn Aquarium until Monday, 31 July 2017. The burning issue of ocean pollution will also feature in the educational exhibition at Hellabrunn's new Polar World, which will be opened to the public at the end of the summer holidays.