A new online campaign for World Oceans Day, supported by ocean legends Sir David Attenborough and Dr Sylvia Earle, is to be launched by the British High Commission in Malaysia on Monday, 8 June.
The ‘Blu Hope’ campaign will run until 12 June and will feature a series of presentations, webinars and videos to raise awareness of the importance of the world’s oceans, how plastic pollution is damaging ocean biodiversity and to encourage action in tackling marine pollution. Blu Hope is aimed at everybody from children and adults, to business leaders and policymakers.
The live broadcasts will be hosted by the Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) and will feature both Malaysian and international speakers covering topics such as oceans and biodiversity, the protection of mangrove and corals, sustainable tourism and chemical recycling. There will also be daily screenings of the documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’.
‘I’ve been struck by the fact that during my first year here, one of the most complicated and sensitive issues that we had to deal with was plastic waste,’ Charles Hay MVO, the British High Commissioner in Malaysia, told Geographical. ‘I remember my first trip up to Lan Cowie, which is a beautiful island up near the border with Thailand. And every day I would look out the window of the hotel and see a team of people working their way down the beach picking up the plastic that had washed up from the Andaman Sea overnight.
‘I think very quickly people in Malaysia become very aware of the issue of plastic pollution and plastic in the ocean. And of course, as we’re increasingly learning, the health of the ocean is incredibly important to all of us, given that it’s home to something like 80 per cent of life Earth, and plays such an important role in regulating the climate.
‘The fact that it’s World Oceans Day on Monday is incredibly important. We decided that we would like to do a big campaign called Blu Hope to run through World Oceans Day, but also to take in a day marking the Coral Triangle, and World Environment Day as well. The whole week will be a series of webinars and campaigns.’
Children are also encouraged to become involved through the BluHope ‘Plastic Detective’ initiative, developed by Jo Ruxton of Plastic Oceans UK. A specially designed activity sheet available in Bahasa Malaysian, Chinese and English, asks children to record their household’s plastic consumption during the week and upload their findings to the campaign website. It is designed to be used from home during the Covid-19 pandemic and will also be distributed in Malaysian schools.
‘The Malaysian government is an enthusiastic partner and have said they’re going to distribute the materials to 10,000 schools,’ adds Charles Hay. ‘So it’s a really exciting moment. It’s a horrific thing, seeing the impact of plastic on marine life, and the sense that we’re destroying it. And so I think there’s a growing sense that we need to do something about this.’
Earlier: Official Launch of BluHope Campaign with Sylvia Earle
Monday 8 June - World Ocean Day
- 8am: Offical Launch of BluHope including Charles Hay MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Sir David Attenborough, Dr Sylvia Earle. The Rt. Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister for Pacific & the Environment, Jo Ruxton, Founder & Director Plastic Oceans UK and Paul Rose, Explorer & TV Presenter.
- 9:30am: The Role of the Dive Industry in Marine Conservation with David McCann, Scuba Junkie, PADI Aware, SSI Blue Ocean, Fourth Element, Manta Rays, Green Fins, Sea Shepherd International
- 3pm: The Story of ‘A Plastic Ocean’, with Jo Ruxton, Producer of ‘A Plastic Ocean’
Tuesday 9 June - Coral Triangle Day
- Biodiversity in the Coral Triangle, with Aaron Gekowski (ScubaZoo), David McGuire, Marine Biologist & Shark Advocate, Dr Nick Pilcher, Sea Turtle Conservationist, Dr Christina Shaw – Dugong & Seagrass Conservationist, Julian Hyde – Head of Reef Check Malaysia, Simon Christopher – Marine Conservationist
Wednesday 10 June - Innovation for a Circular Plastics Economy
- 7.30am: Commonwealth Blue Charter & Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance moderated by H.E. Charles Hay MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia
- 10am: Plastic Pacts Across the World
- 11am: Chemical recycling of plastics: turning waste into a valuable resource, and help prevent ocean pollution
Thursday 11 June - Ocean Odyssey 101
- 1am: Plastic Eco-Warriors
- 3pm: Plastic Waste: an inconvenient truth for South-East Asia region, moderated by Dr S. Sri Umeswara, Expert Consultant on Circular Economy.
Friday 12 June - Scuba 1010
- 1am: Diving with, Filming & Protecting Endangered Dugongs - with Dr Christina Shaw, CEO of the Vanuatu Environmental Science Society and Director of Sea Shaw – Veterinary and Conservation Service
- 11am: UN World Oceans Day Photo Competition with Ellen Cuylearts
- 12:30pm: The joys of TekDiving: More than 10 Ways on how technical Diving Can Be The Most Fun Thing to Delve Into, with Marc Crane
- 1:30pm: History of Spectacular Underwater Photography: Cousteau to Blue Planet with Geoff Brighty and Juan Romero, Marine Biologist & Film Field Producer.
- 2:30pm: Inside the Inspirational Ocean Cinematography with Richie Kohler, Howard and Michelle Hall, Florian Fisher, Becky Kegan and Craig Leeson