The Financial Express

World Oceans Day: Why we need to save oceans

| Updated: June 08, 2020 16:34:28

Representational image. — Reuters Representational image. — Reuters

June 08 is World Oceans Day. The theme for the day of this year is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”. The day is for highlighting the role of the oceans in our daily life and for inspiring action to safeguard the ocean and make the sustainable use of marine resources.

The World Oceans Day is an occasion for ocean research organisations, governments and NGOs around the world to reinforce public engagement and build greater ocean literacy so we can all have a better understanding of what we can do to protect the health of our ocean.

The SDGs Goal 14 is “Life below Water” that aims to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification.

How human life is reliant on oceans

It helps us inhale:  Phytoplankton, tiny plant-like organisms that live in the sea, account for at least 50 per cent of the oxygen on the earth. Just like land-based plants, they contain chlorophyll to capture sunlight and use photosynthesis to adapt it to the energy they need, producing oxygen as a byproduct. They also consume carbon dioxide, transmitting an enormous amount of carbon from the atmosphere deep into the ocean every year.

It is a vital source of food: Fish is on the menu for billions of people across the world every day. It accounts for almost 16 per cent of all animal protein consumed worldwide. Moreover, a variety of algae and sea plants are also commonly used in cooking.

It supports to control the climate change: The ocean absorbs a huge amount of heat from the sun. More than 90 per cent of the heating that Earth witnessed over the past 50 years, was in the ocean. Tiny floating microorganisms in the ocean's surface waters play an immense role in controlling the global climate.

Its biodiversity is innumerable: It’s not just a source of food. The ocean is also home to an abundance of life. While estimates on the number of species that live in the sea exist, no one knows absolutely what that number is.

Great sources of jobs: Ocean-based industries will employ more than 40 million people worldwide by 2030, a report of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates. The biggest share of those jobs is likely to be in the fisheries sector, followed by tourism. The economic health of maritime industries is fundamentally linked to the overall health of the oceans, of course. The ocean economy is of particular significance in developing countries, which are home to most of the 3.0 billion people who rely on the sea for their livelihoods.

Things we can do to save the oceans

  • Reduce energy use.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs in your house.
  • Use reusable plastic products.
  • Properly dispose of hazardous materials.
  • Eat sustainable seafood.
  • Use less fertiliser & pesticides
  • Pick up garbage and litter near beaches.
  • Buy ocean-friendly products
  • Adopt an ocean friendly law, policy & procedure
  • Introduce ocean literacy programme
  • Allocate more resources to conservation of the ocean
  • Stop overfishing and deep-sea mining
  • Pay special attention to marine protected areas

ECOFISH II approach to save biodiversity, aquatic production

WorldFish Bangladesh with the support of USAID Bangladesh has been implementing ECOFISH II, a five-year project with the Directorate of Fisheries & others collaborates in 36 upazills of 12 districts. It has comprehensive activities to improve fishers’ livelihood resilience, conserve biodiversity and enhance ecosystem resilience in the areas. The project has been implementing various measures on biodiversity conservation of fish, crustaceans and megafauna in the Cox’s Bazar–Teknaf coastal waters, lower Meghna river/estuary and Nijhum Dwip Marine Protected Areas.

The writer is currently working for the USAID Bangladesh-supported ECOFISH II project of WorldFish Bangladesh as a Communications Specialist. He can be reached at m.asaduzzaman@cgiar.org


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