Save Our Oceans | Daily News

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Save Our Oceans

Just last week, we heard the devastating news that a whale which had ingested 80 plastic bags had died after washing ashore in Thailand. Statistically, this may be just one animal but if you look at the bigger picture, our oceans are filled to the brim with garbage, especially plastics. Sri Lanka, which has a relatively large coastline and an extended maritime boundary, is in the unenviable fifth position out of 200 countries in terms of marine plastic pollution despite having a population of only 21 million.

Just a few days ago, the world was reminded of this catastrophe on the World Environment Day. Today, on World Oceans Day (June 8), we have yet another opportunity to resolve to save our seas. The oceans are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere. In the end, it is a day to celebrate together the beauty, wealth and promise of the vast ocean which covers more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface.

The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transport. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future. Yet, we still care and know very little about the oceans. They contain nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions and there are many other mysteries that surround the world’s oceans.

Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water, and represent 99 per cent of the living space on the planet by volume. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year or about 5 per cent of global GDP. Oceans absorb about 30 per cent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 2.6 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein. Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people. Subsidies for fishing are contributing to the rapid depletion of many fish species and are preventing efforts to save and restore global fisheries and related jobs, causing ocean fisheries to generate US$ 50 billion less per year than they could. As much as 40 per cent of the world oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including pollution, depleted fisheries, and loss of coastal habitat.

The focus of World Oceans Day 2018 is preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean. Plastic pollution is causing tremendous harm to our marine resources. Some of the statistics are indeed alarming - 80% of all pollution in the ocean comes from people on land; 8 million tonnes of plastic per year ends up in the ocean, wreaking havoc on wildlife, fisheries and tourism; Plastic pollution costs the lives of 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year; Plastic causes $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year. By 2050, it is estimated the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.

As always, prevention is better than the cure - there are many things we can do as individuals to reduce our plastic consumption in the first place. The key is to use less plastic and recycle the plastic we must use in line with the 3R mantra – Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle. There is a raging debate overseas about the possibility of banning some plastics such as single-use straws and cups. (India is planning to ban single use plastics by 2022 while Kenya already has a ban in place).

Nearly one billion straws are used and discarded around the world every day, with most of them ending up in the oceans. One can imagine the sheer scale of the straw problem from this statistic alone. If you think you can manage to drink a beverage without a straw, do so. There is now a worldwide movement that aims to drastically reduce straw use. Moreover, given a choice between a PET bottle and a glass bottle, opt for the glass bottle. When you go to a restaurant, ask your server to bring water in a glass, not in a plastic bottle. Always use a recyclable bag when you go shopping. If you live near the sea, make sure that none of your garbage gets to the sea. As a rule, never leave anything other than your footprints on a beach. Remember, the ocean is not a dumping ground for our waste. It is a living, breathing entity that deserves our respect, care and support.


 

There is 1 Comment

Human with big skull to accommodate big brains for known unknown reasons finding easy way out dumping unwanted objects in places not to be a dumping ground yes even the mighty capitalistic coloration seem to play a role. Ot plastic industrialized nation dump many a chemical including mercury etc close to populated waterways etc.stupid sin others suffer. Nature violated.pray to improve innocent animal humans remain fit to survive

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