The oceans are depleting and it is time that we act. Half of the coral reefs and mangrove forests have been destroyed due to human activity and the situation with fish stock is not in a better place either. Experts have predicted that if this continues, there will hardly be any stock left for fishing by 2048. Following this, more than 90% of the coral reefs are predicted to be destroyed beyond recognition.
Imagine having the view of a plastic coral reef when you go scuba-diving!
The economic benefits derived from the oceans are termed the ‘blue economy.’ This blue economy is predicted to make around $3 trillion to $6 trillion annually across the globe, providing a livelihood to many people. Further, more than 34 million people of the Asia Pacific region engage in commercial fishing. The annual export value of fish turned out to be $19.5 billion only in the Southeast Asia region. This gives you a good picture of the economic benefits that the oceans provide!
How do we rescue the seas?
With the future of so many people and so much wildlife at stake, the rescue operations of the ‘blue economy’ must begin. However, the appropriate way to implement these measures is challenging. As the health of the oceans keeps depleting, it becomes a bigger threat to not one country or economy but the entire globe. Hence, to get the maximum benefits, the solution must be far-reaching and broad.
Several NGOs, governments, and industrialists need to come forward and take part in this ultimate ocean clean-up to help the oceans recover. Under the recovery process also falls the reduction of marine pollution, which is mainly caused by factories and businesses. Care must be taken to ensure appropriate implementation of protective measures to ensure the health of coastal and marine ecosystems that are the soul of the planet.
Further, an effective creation of alternative livelihood opportunities for many people must be undertaken.
How do we gather the funds required?
It is not unknown that there should be a large-scale investment to successfully carry out this deep cleaning process. This kind of investment can arise from private sector companies that have access to the best financial resources. However, the difficult part is to attract them for ocean-related projects.
The governments of various nations have come up with ‘Blue funds’ that are becoming a ray of hope to overcome certain challenges. However, they need more funds to carry out the projects for the betterment of ocean health. For this, a lot of multilateral development banks can come forward and help in developing the blue project funds. Another possibility is to create dedicated financial institutions to mobilise funds and have the most effective utilisation of the available resources. To attract private investors, important development partners like the Asian Development Bank can help with appropriate investments and benefits.
The deep-cleaning of the oceans is one of the biggest steps we should take for the welfare of the economies, and for the health of the planet as a whole. While blue finance can help in its own way for the funding, we must act on it now – and do our part while there is still time.0