The world celebrates World Oceans Day on 8th June. In our earlier blog Protect and Restore! we talked about how plastic is a big deal for the oceans.
Today let’s dive deeper into the understanding of this day and why it is an urgent need of the hour.
About 70% of the planet is covered with oceans. They support human sustenance and are home to around 2,26,000 ocean species. They produce at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen. Besides, they are key to many economies of the world with an estimate of 200 million people employed directly or indirectly.
But today, oceans need our support. With 50% of coral reefs destroyed and the fish population under threat, we are not giving the oceans a chance to replenish.
In the past years, we have seen how resources are depleting and we need to come together to create a balance. This is to restore the vibrancy and protect the biodiversity that depends on the oceans.
The United Nations declared 8th June as the official day for World Oceans Day. Delegates from different communities come together and share solutions for protecting the oceans.
The theme for 2022 World Oceans Day is “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean”.
On 8th June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, United Nations Conference on Environment and Development declared that World Oceans were under threat.
In 2008, the General Assembly resolved to choose 8th June as “World Oceans Day”.
The observance of the first World Oceans Day was in 2009 and the theme was “Our Oceans, Our Responsibility”. The theme highlights the importance of oceans in society.
In 2022, the UN conducted the first-ever hybrid celebration of the event at the UN headquarters in NYC.
Nearly 30% of carbon dioxide is absorbed by the oceans. But human activities cause carbon emissions that warm the ocean and have acidification and oxygen loss.
The oceans also absorb 90 % of excess heat in the environment. But the excess heating of oceans is causing widespread marine heatwaves.
The oceans support human sustenance. They help us at each step helping us live harmoniously within the system. Some of these ways are:
Basics: Oceans take care of our basics like oxygen and freshwater. The freshwater cycle of the oceans forms the clouds bringing us rain that replenishes are other resources. They also regulate the climate and weather patterns regulating heat waves.
Food: Apart from the seafood provided by the oceans, the fishmeal is used for feeding poultry and pork. More than 3 billion people depend on oceans for their primary source of food.
Economy: They allow us to trade and employment opportunities in fisheries, trade, and shipping tourism. Ocean-based shipping accounts for more than 90 % of global trade.
Resources: The oceans are a great source of minerals, oil, medicines.
Water activities: They help us with an opportunity for ocean sports and adventures and help people relax at the beaches.
Renewable energy: A source of endless renewable and clean energy. The tides, waves, and ocean currents can be used for harnessing more cleaner and effective forms of energy.
Dissolving carbon: Removing carbon from the atmosphere and upper layers of oceans, the oceans, and marine plants seize carbon in sea beds.
Some of the crucial problems being faced today are:
Around 80% of the pollution is agricultural waste and pesticides, plastics, and untreated sewage waste. Plastic kills hundreds of marine animals on daily basis.
Many species of fish are becoming extinct due to overexploitation. Overfishing is happening to meet the growing demands of the population.
Intensive aquaculture is proliferating pollutants in marine waters. Using chemicals and antibiotics to produce fish end up in the oceans and these are toxic to marine ecosystems.
Construction, oil drilling and marine engineering have caused acute disturbances and generated pollution for marine life.
The acidification of the oceans and coastal waters results in coral bleaching and the marine habitats are undergoing irreversible changes.
Excess mercury is killing and causing severe illness in marine life and humans.
Here are our simple recommendations to help save the oceans:
Use water judiciously: excess wastewater ends up in the ocean.
Pollutant free products: use organic or non-toxic chemicals and products for agricultural and personal use. Cleaning products used in homes are highly toxic that end up in the ocean.
Proper waste disposal: dispose of waste properly, don’t litter around, especially those that can harm the environment such as pesticides, toxic and biohazardous substances.
Reduce waste: cut down on your waste.
Wise shopping: use reusable bags, and sustainable food products, and avoid plastic.
Reduce vehicular pollution: use fuel-efficient vehicles, car pools, public transport, switch to riding a bicycle for shorter distances.
Use electricity judiciously: switch off electricity not in use, switch to smart bulbs, efficient energy light.
Respect habitat: treat the marine biodiversity and habitat with respect.
Raise awareness: read, educate, and learn for yourself and teach others. Knowledge is an excellent tool for understanding the problem and creating solutions.
Volunteer: participate in drives for cleaning ups, education, and teaching. Participate in activities taking place at your community levels.
World Oceans Day makes us aware of the importance of oceans in our lives. Besides, it creates awareness of the impacts of our actions on the oceans.
From the global carbon cycle to providing livelihood to billions of people, the oceans are the heart and soul of the planet. However, our activities have altered their chemical composition.
This year’s theme is to highlight the importance of restoring the health of our oceans.
We all should come together and work towards building communities and finding ways to protect and restore our oceans.
That’s all I have for now,
I will write to you soon.