Stop Marine Animals From Drowning in Abandoned Fishing Gear

Target: Benjamin Friedman, Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Goal: Eradicate ghost gear that pollutes the water and severely disrupts delicate marine ecosystems.

Fishing equipment lost or discarded in the ocean, also known as ghost gear, is killing over 100,000 marine animals every year. The abandoned refuse pollutes waters, and it’s an accumulating threat to the delicate balance of the oceanic environment. Animals that become entangled in ghost gear suffer physical injury and drown, while other unfortunate creatures remain entrapped to die of starvation.

Fish, turtles, sharks, dolphins, whales, seals, birds and more get ensnared in ghost gear, unable to free themselves. Frighteningly, the entire wildlife food chain is affected because when one animal is caught up in the debris, its predators attempt to consume it and also become relentlessly trapped. Just one ghost fishing net, line, or trap can kill an enormous number of oceanic dwellers.

Tons of ghost gear ends up at the bottom of the ocean, continuously killing animals for no reason. In addition to destroying marine life, it also harms the underwater habitats of sediment-dwelling organisms and coral reefs. Making matters worse, ghost gear is composed of highly resilient and durable material that is estimated to take up to 600 years to deteriorate.

Every effort must be made to correct this problem before it is irreversible. Our government has a responsibility to protect the environment, and the problem will only worsen if effective steps are not taken to address the threat of marine garbage. Sign the petition to demand that ocean clean-up research be conducted and intensive action taken to save the ocean and its inhabitants.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Deputy Undersecretary Friedman,

Every year, lost or abandoned fishing nets, lines, and traps claim the lives of countless sea animals that become ensnared and unable to escape. This refuse problem, classified as ghost gear, has become increasingly threatening with the expansion of globalized fishing operations. Furthermore, the discarded fishing gear was designed and manufactured for durability and could take up to 600 years to break down.

The research and efforts that have been made to abate this problem are simply not enough. The issue of overall marine debris must be addressed in order to halt and reverse the obvious damages to oceanic ecosystems. This mounting environmental issue also directly harms human beings by creating pollution and diminishing food sources.

The ghost gear resting at the bottom of the ocean is deadly to countless aquatic animals, and it subjects living creatures to physical harm and a lingering death for absolutely no reason. It wreaks havoc on the entire wildlife food chain as predators also become imprisoned to await an agonizing death. I demand that extensive efforts be made to research the escalating problem of ghost gear in our oceans, and I insist that appropriate and intensive action be taken to protect the ocean for current and future generations.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: ECONYL

Ban Improper and Unsafe Waste Disposal in the Philippines

Target: Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines

Goal: Stop inappropriate and toxic waste disposal threatening the welfare of the Filipino people, their lands, and the overall environment.

One of the largest environmental problems facing the Philippines today is the practice of unsuitable and hazardous waste disposal. Their governmental mismanagement of waste services has resulted in serious ground and surface water contamination. Improper waste disposal has continued for many years, and what began as a threat to the environment has evolved to include serious health risks for people as well.

Inappropriate garbage disposal results in dangerous water pollution, air pollution, and flooding. Hazardous waste harms people directly by contact and also indirectly through the polluted atmosphere and contaminated water. Cast-off refuse in oceans and waterways creates clogged canals and spillage, causing flash floods that put citizens in harm’s way.

As the population of the Philippines increases and cities and provinces become more developed, the risks of improper waste management are elevated. Open dump sites permit debris to drift into waterways and neighborhoods. Moreover, urban citizens claim there are not enough dumps and landfills to accommodate the overpopulated regions of the country, further encouraging the improper disposal of waste.

Action must be taken now to remedy this severe health risk to people and the environment; improper waste management poses a problem for everyone. All countries on our planet have the inherent responsibility to ‘do no damage’ by committing to the preservation of our environment for the welfare of the earth and its inhabitants. Sign the petition below to stop irresponsible and dangerous waste disposal in the Philippines and demand strict adherence to laws previously passed for environmental protection.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Duterte,

There are many environmental issues that plague the Philippines, however, one of the greatest threats to the welfare of the country’s lands and people is the improper and hazardous disposal of waste. Open dump sites allow the free flow of trash and hazardous materials into waterways and neighborhoods, and refuse burning pollutes the atmosphere. It is imperative that dangerous and inappropriate waste disposal be discontinued and laws strictly enforced for the protection of your country’s citizens and the communities in which they live.

Improper waste disposal threatens the health of the environment and all living things. The garbage that flows into oceans and waterways from dump sites causes water contamination and flash flooding from clogged canals, putting people at risk for illness and disease and wreaking havoc on communities. Incorrect disposal of trash is an attractive invitation to rodents that infect water sources, transferring deadly and contagious diseases to humans.

It is devastating to see abject waste management practices taking such a severe toll on a once beautiful land inhabited by healthy people. Furthermore, it is entirely inexcusable to allow the improper disposal of waste to continue without attempting to solve the problem. I demand that Republic Act 9003 and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 be strictly implemented to stop dangerous and unsuitable waste disposal in the Philippines before it is too late to reverse the damage.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kounosu