Message from President Danny Faure
the SIF Patron for the Aldabra Clean-Up Project launch
on the occasion of World Environment Day, 5 June 2018
In December last year, I had the great privilege to visit Aldabra for the first time. My trip to this exquisite part of Seychelles was unforgettable.
While I was there, I met the extraordinary team from Seychelles Islands Foundation, based on the Aldabra Atoll all-year round. A mix of Seychellois and other nationalities, Seychelles Islands Foundation conservationists manage and protect this natural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage Site. I had the opportunity to see some incredible things in Aldabra. But a very serious reality lies within those breath-taking sights - the threat of marine plastic pollution.
Although its shores and surrounding seas remain vibrant with life, Aldabra is under attack. In just three weeks in December 2017, 200 kilograms of waste was collected from one beach. The issue that confronts Aldabra is a global one. Marine plastic pollution, the result of the improper disposal of everyday plastic items from straws to water bottles, endangers the ecosystems of not only Aldabra but the world. Plastic pollution poses one of the biggest known threats to the ocean. It is predicted that by 2050, our oceans will have more plastic than fish by weight.
The Blue Economy concept pioneered by Seychelles relies on a healthy ocean. Our country needs to tackle marine pollution not only by preventing marine plastic debris, but by increasing our capacity to participate in the Circular Economy. We need to transition from the current linear system of use and dispose, to a circular model where plastic never becomes waste. It requires each and every one of to rethink how we go about everyday activities and change our approach toward the use of plastic.
What is happening now is a preview of what will happen if we do not take action. Just as with our efforts to combat climate change, the issue of marine plastic pollution requires decisive, collective action, with stakeholders working toward solutions together, for the sake of future generations.
The Aldabra Clean-Up Project is one such innovative solution that I am honoured to support. It is the result of collaboration between Seychelles Islands Foundation and the University of Oxford, led by the Queen's College.
This is a real community project that has the potential to make a global impact. Aldabra, Seychelles, and the world need to urgently find ways, such as this project, to tackle the issue of marine pollution. This exciting collaboration also represents the commitment the people of Seychelles and the United Kingdom have toward the preservation of our oceans, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 14 to conserve and sustainably use our oceans.
The opportunity for six young Seychellois and six Oxford students to work together and be a part of the solution is something truly unique. Described by David Attenborough in 1995 as 'one of the world's greatest surviving natural treasures', the Aldabra Atoll needs to be protected at all costs. I am confident that these individuals will become dedicated Ambassadors for the cause, and inspire not only each other, but their communities, to do what is necessary to safeguard our oceans.
I am delighted that the official launch of the Aldabra Clean-Up Project is taking place at the Royal Society of London. Much of the initial research and conservation efforts on Aldabra was done through the outstanding efforts of The Royal Society. Over the years this organisation has been one of the Atoll's strongest protectors.
The time for action is now, and I ask you to give a helping hand to this cause so that we are all a part of the solution.
Our environment is our wealth, it is our future, and each one of us is the guardian of this paradise.
For the full Video Message by President Faure visit the State House Website Video Gallery or our Facebook Page.