GEF 6 side event calls for joining hands to protect ocean hinh anh 1Participants in the “Joining hands to protect the ocean” programme clean up a beach in Da Nang city (Photo: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA) – Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) organised a programme titled “Joining hands to protect the ocean” in the central coastal city of Da Nang on June 26 in response to one of the themes of the 6th Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which is taking place in Da Nang.

Addressing the programme’s launch, MoNRE Deputy Minister Vo Tuan Nhan said the increasing volume of trash, especially plastic oceanic waste, is threatening the beauty of Da Nang, which has won numerous titles such as the best city for living in Vietnam or one of the most favourite destinations in the world in 2015.

He stressed that plastic trash has become a big threat to the world’s oceans in general and Vietnam’s seas in particular, calling on ministries, agencies, local administrations, organisations, businesses and individuals to join hands with the Natural Resources and Environment sector to carry out regular and effective campaigns to clean up the beaches, thus preserving the marine environment.

Under Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif told the event that marine pollution is one of the biggest concerns nowadays, which is worsening at a pace unseen before due to waste from industrial and agricultural production as well as daily life.

She cited statistics of the World Economic Forum that around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste were discharged into the ocean every year, while 3 billion people around the world rely on the ocean for their livelihoods.

Therefore, it is necessary to raise people’s awareness about marine trash and community responsibility in managing and protecting the marine environment.

The UN Under Secretary-General stressed that preservation and sustainable use of the ocean and marine resources as one of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. She pledged to cooperate with and support Vietnamese partners, especially the MoNRE, in combating marine pollution.

Executive Coordinator of UNDP Global Environmental Finance Adriana Dinu said with 3,000 km of coast, Vietnam contributes to and also is affected by marine plastics. She stressed that with 20 percent of its GDP comes from marine resources, Vietnam must take necessary measures to protect and restore the ocean.

After the launch, more than 600 delegates, young people and local residents collected trash and cleaned up the beaches, and planted trees.

The 6th GEF Assembly is taking place in Da Nang from June 23-29.-VNA