UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has opened the first-ever U.N. conference on oceans with a warning that the lifeblood of the planet is “under threat as never before,” with one recent study warning that discarded plastic garbage could outweigh fish by 2050 if nothing is done.
The U.N. chief told presidents, ministers, diplomats and environmental activists from nearly 200 countries on Monday that oceans are being severely damaged by pollution, overfishing and the effects of climate change as well as refuse.
Guterres said the aim of the five-day conference is “to turn the tide” and solve the problems that “we created.”
He said competing territorial and fights over natural resources have blocked progress for far too long.
“We must put aside short-term national gain to prevent long-term global catastrophe,” the secretary-general said.