From the window of her spaceship, an astronaut observes the blue that dominates our planet. Inside its womb blossoms marine wildlife, some discovered and many hidden away, and plants that gives the depth of ocean its green shade. Covering over 70% of Earth’s surface, and 90% of our planet’s habitable space, oceans are the key component to our survival. From the atmosphere we breathe into, to controller of the weather and climate changes, and absorber of CO2, it plays a vital role in sustaining life on our planet. But as much as the image our Earth calms us, we are contributing to its demise by unhealthy and polluting habits that have become so intrinsic in our lifestyle.
In order to spread awareness about oceans and its human-imposed epidemics, World Oceans Day is celebrated on June 8th since its official recognition by United Nations in 2008. For the first time, United Nations Ocean Conference is being held with New York as its headquarters. The theme for this year is “Our Oceans, Our Future” which is a breeding ground for ideas that encourage solutions to marine pollution and promote healthier life for both our and oceanic life. In over 100 countries, the day is celebrated in forms of launching campaigns, beach and aquatic cleanup initiatives, educational programs and conferences and much more.
Ignorance is not blissful when it comes being unaware of how we impose as a threat to the ecosystem that we are directly part of. Ocean is treated as a convenient waste basket where over 640,000 tons (approximately 58 crore kgs) of plastic is dumped every year. This plastic is consumed by aquatic life leading to their death. It also gets eroded into smaller fragments which are absorbed in the blood of fishes we later consume. Our oceans absorb 50% of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and every time there is an increase in carbon emissions, oceans are becoming more acidic and unsustainable for its wildlife due to excessive absorption. To add to this list of concerns is over consumption of sea food, hunting of dangerously nearing extinction aquatic life, and deep water oil wells that are harming our oceanic environment. There is an increase in ‘Dead Zones’ which do not support life anymore due to lack of oxygen and global warming.
Even though we walk on the land, our lives are dependent on the oceans. It is high time to realize it is our duty to protect, preserve and conserve the life that surrounds us and lives for our health and happiness. As António Guterres, Secretary General of United Nation, said in his opening remarks in to the Ocean Conference: “We created these problems. With decisive, coordinated global action, we can solve them.”