8th June is commemorated as World Oceans Day by the United Nations. This day seeks to bring more awareness about the crucial role that oceans play in the lives of humankind, to show the impact of human activity on oceans, and to bring about ways for the sustainable management of oceans.
The theme for World Oceans Day 2019
The focus for World Oceans Day 2019 is ‘Gender and the Ocean.’ This theme seeks to promote gender equality in all activities related to the oceans such as marine scientific research, labour at the seas, fisheries, and policy-making and management of the oceans.
History of the World Oceans Day
The idea of the ‘World Oceans Day’ was proposed way back in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was only much later that the United Nations General Assembly pronounced 8th June as World Oceans Day on 5th December 2008.
Why are Oceans Important?
- Oceans are critical to the well-being of humankind and the planet Earth.
- Oceans produce over half the oxygen that we breathe. Further, they also store 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere.
- Oceans play a primary role in transporting the heat from the equator to the poles. As a result, they play a major part in regulating the weather.
- Oceans are a great source of recreation: activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, and fishing can all be done in the oceans.
- Oceans play a significant role in the economy. For instance, trade is done through oceans and ocean-dependent businesses employ many people.
- Oceans are also a massive source of transportation.
- Oceans are a big source of food. Apart from just seafood, oceans provide ingredients for other products.
- Oceans are also a huge source of medicinal products.
Facts about Oceans
Here are some awe-inspiring facts about oceans that all of us must be aware of
- Oceans form a major part of the Earth – they cover 75 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the water on the Earth.
- Oceans are home to nearly 200,000 identified species of marine life. However, the actual number might go much beyond this.
- The market value of marine industries is around 5 percent of the global GDP. In terms of absolute numbers, it is estimated at $3 trillion annually.
- In terms of contributing to the economy, over three billion people across the world depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Further, the marine fisheries business employs over 200 million people globally.
- Unfortunately, over 40 percent of oceans are adversely impacted due to indiscriminate human activity.
- Today, a massive 13,000,000 tonnes of plastic leak into the oceans each year. This causes a huge amount of damage, including killing 100,000 marine and aquatic animals annually.
Despite all the benefits that oceans provide, we humans have been very cruel to them. This World Oceans Day, let us promise to not misuse the assets that we have been provided with. Rather, let us pledge to use these resources judiciously so that our future generations can also live in peace and happiness.
Happy World Oceans Day everyone!0