“Why are Oceans dying an unnatural death?”
World Oceans Day is observed on June 8 every year, to raise awareness among humans on the imperative role that oceans play in sustaining our ecosystems.
The day calls the world’s attention to the dire need to protect oceans from dying an unnatural death due to reckless human activities.
History & significance:
The day is commemorated, worldwide since 2008, when the United Nations (UN) declared World Oceans Day as an official occasion. Unique & meaningful themes are proposed by the UN, each year to observe World Oceans Day.
2021 theme: ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’
This year, the theme of world ocean day will focus on the life and livelihood that the ocean ecosystem sustains. In consideration of the Covid-19 situation, worldwide, this year, the events and celebrations for world oceans day will be facilitated in a digital mode. The program will focus on the role that the oceans play, within various communities and ecosystems.
Why oceans are essential for human well-being?
The human species owes all aspects of their well-being and livelihood to the oceans. The oceans play an indispensable role in our lives, not just by providing essential services, but by performing functions critical for the survival of the human species and other marine ecosystems.
- It regulates the climate, through the energy budget.
- Maintains the carbon cycle and nutrient cycle.
- Biodiversity hotspot: The ocean is the home of biodiversity ranging from microbes to marine mammals that form a wide variety of ecosystems in the open pelagic and coastal oceans.
How are the oceans dying an unnatural death?
The current state of the oceans is not part of a natural phenomenon. It is a result of indiscriminate and mindless human activities. These activities have significantly affected the pristine state of our oceans and have lead to:
- Ocean warming
- Acidification of the oceans
- Oxygen loss
- Changes in nutrient cycling
All of this is a result of an influx of carbon emissions caused as a result of human activities. As per the IPCC report, the world oceans have warmed unabated since the year, 2005. And, if the trend continues, it will not take long, until all of the world’s precious oceans are lost. And, once it happens, the life on planet earth will too succumb!
Our oceans becoming
dump yards of plastic:
Every minute, truckloads of plastic is immersed into our oceans! As per a UN report, in a year, 13 million metric tonnes of plastic is dumped into the oceans.
With the global plastic production expected to skyrocket in the next 10-15 years, the already grim condition is to deteriorate further!
Indian start-ups to save our oceans:
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it!”- Robert Swan
To solve the problem of plastic waste littered in the ocean, six students from the CV Raman College of Engineering, Bhubaneswar came up with an innovative solution. They made a sequential float with a smart and flexible driving and monitoring unit. The float is capable of collecting both offshore plastic and spilled oil. The technology can be used for extracting plastic waste from any flowing water body. Other innovative start-ups like B-eco, Eco-Buddy and Geeli Mitti are contributing efforts to tackling the problem of single-use plastics with their eco-friendly alternatives. The onus of saving our planet lies on us, as it lies on the government and other stakeholders. Thus, we must contribute to safeguarding the water bodies that surround our blue planet.
By Dr Deepak Kohli
(The writer is a Joint Secretary, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department. Views expressed are his personal.)