(BREITBART) — Pope Francis on Saturday issued a call to action against pollution, describing the state of ocean littering as an “emergency,” while the church’s sex abuse scandal intensifies.

In honor of World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Francis made the appeal in a message to galvanize Christians and others to work to save what he hails as the “marvelous,” God-given gift of the “great waters and all they contain.” The pope said efforts to fight plastic litter must be waged “as if everything depended on us.”

“Sadly, all too often many efforts fail due to the lack of effective regulation and means of control, particularly with regard to the protection of marine areas beyond national confines,” Francis said. “We cannot allow our seas and oceans to be littered by endless fields of floating plastic.”