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We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...

Why are we trashing our oceans?

Today is World Environment Day – a day to appreciate all that is magical about the natural world that surrounds us but also a day for us all to take a long, hard look at the effects our lifestyles are having on the planet.

One of the major growing threats, to both humans and wildlife, is marine debris. The amount of waste and especially plastic waste in our oceans is unprecedented and our wildlife is suffering as a result. Whales, dolphins, birds and turtles are all being found with stomachs full of plastic – in 2013 a sperm whale that washed up on the south coast of Spain was found to have consumed over 17kg of plastic waste, including several plastic bags, a clothes hanger, an ice-cream tub and nine metres of rope. In addition to plastic, more and more animals are being found entangled in discarded or lost fishing gear. For most this will likely involve a subsequently slow, painful and lingering death.

Two opinion pieces that discuss marine debris in some depth and that are well worth a read on this auspicious day come from …

Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. Mr Chambers discusses the impact of the growing problem of marine debris on islands’ wildlife and the economic and environmental consequences.

And …

Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) talks about the consequences of these vast quantities of trash bobbing around the ocean, both for humans and wildlife, and points to what she regards as the only way to solve the problem.

The problem is not going to go away without some serious engagement on behalf of society and Governments – on this World Environment Day 2014 why not try to do your bit?