The ocean covers 70% of the planet and inhabits millions of marine creatures. But now, almost 40% of the world’s ocean is polluted and over 100,000 marine living things lost their lives. Plastic waste killed over a million seabirds, thousands of sea mammals, and countless fishes every year. We do live on land but we also need the ocean to live. Therefore, it is our responsibility to save and protect our ocean and those that live in it.
The Government of Canada proposed the concept of World Ocean Day. A petition was circulated until UN officially recognized the event to be observed every year on June 8. The celebration’s objective is to remind and encourage us to protect the ocean and the life it carries. Our oceans are becoming a waste basket. Plastic had been floating on every mile of the beaches throughout the world. A report shows that rivers transport around 1.15 million to 2.41 million metric tons of plastic waste annually. And where do these plastics come from? Most plastic found in the ocean are from land. Over the last decade, humans have produced more plastic, 50% of which are used once and thrown away. Upon knowing the source of the plastic pollution that is plaguing our oceans, preventive measures can be conducted.
“It’s critical for us right now to protect what we have for future generations because with many ecosystems like coral reefs, we’re on the brink of losing so much in terms of the diversity of life underwater and that’s irreplaceable,” Craig Dahlgren, a Bahamas National Trust marine ecologist said. “So now is the time that we need to act to protect things.”
Our Oceans, Our Future
This year, the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council composed of young people from different nations is playing a significant role in helping shape the development of this year’s celebration. The organization works with UN Environment’s Clean Seas Campaign in calling the attention of the government, industries, and citizens to help put an end to tons of plastic waste in our ocean. By the year 2022, the campaign aims to end the excessive usage of single-use plastic which is a major source of marine litter.
“With nearly half of the world’s population under age 25, it is imperative to empower young people to step up as leaders at an early age, and engage them in a solutions-oriented approach to ocean conservation,” Bill Mott, Executive Director of The Ocean Project said. “We believe that youth are the key to success and, for this reason, we are making youth engagement our top priority for growing the reach and impact of World Oceans Day on June 8 and year-round.”
The Atlantis Blue Project Foundation together with Disney Conservation Fund had developed strategies to help protect marine life and restore local reefs in the Bahamas. Coral fragments are being grown in a coral reef nursery to repopulate destroyed reefs. The foundation also educates divers and snorkelers bout coral reefs.
“It’s critical for us right now to protect what we have for future generations because with many ecosystems like coral reefs, we’re on the brink of losing so much in terms of the diversity of life underwater and that’s irreplaceable,” Dahlgren said. “So now is the time that we need to act to protect things.”
Pacific leaders are joining the UN Oceans Conference that started on Monday. The five-day long conference aims to address issues that are degrading our oceans.
“The sea indeed belongs to all of us,” Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general said in his opening speech.
“Improving the health of our oceans is a test for multilateralism, and we cannot afford to fail.” Elizabeth Wilson, director of international conservation at Pew Charitable Trusts expressed her hope for the success of the event.
“This is really a chance for leaders to come together and look at the ocean’s sustainable development goals and what needs to be done specifically on oceans,” she continued. “I think this meeting will be followed by a whole series of other meetings that we hope will be impacted in a positive way.”
How can we help save our ocean?
- Reuse shopping bags, bottled water, everyday plastics and other disposable plastics
- Keep an eye to rubbish on the streets. These can end up in the oceans
- Volunteer at beach cleanup
- Support banning of plastic bags, polystyrene foam bans, and bottle recycling
- Spread the word and let people know why it is necessary to reduce plastic use
- Join campaigns promoting clean seas
If everyone joins in the cause of saving our oceans it will easily be attainable.