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Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean: World Oceans Day 2020

Pritam Kashyap
Pritam Kashyap

Oceans provide most of the oxygen that humans breath and are essential for life on our planet. There's no green without blue i.e. life cannot be sustained without oceans they are the lifelines. Despite two-thirds of the Earth being aquatic, the amount of pure water is inadequate to feed the demand of everyone. Air and water are the basis of life on earth. Due to being surrounded by the sea, the Earth is also called Water Planet. But now its existence is in the danger. Because of this, the United Nations celebrates World Oceans Day i.e. World Oceans Day on 8 June every year to create awareness among the people about the importance of the oceans, benefits that mankind gets from the ocean, the increasing pollution, its dangers and the protection of the sea.  

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres gave a message to the world. He said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is a sharp reminder of how we are all intimately connected to each other and nature. As we work to end the pandemic and build back better, we have a once in a generation opportunity and responsibility to correct our relationship with the natural world, including the world’s seas and oceans. We rely on the oceans for food, livelihoods, transport and trade. And, as the lungs of our planet and its largest carbon sink, the oceans play a vital role in regulating the global climate. Today, sea levels are rising due to climate change, threatening lives and livelihoods in low-lying nations and coastal cities and communities around the world. The oceans are becoming more acidic, putting marine biodiversity and essential food chains in jeopardy. And plastic pollution is everywhere.” 

This year theme for World Oceans Day 2020 is “Innovation for a sustainable ocean” is important for a better understanding of the oceans is essential for conserving fish stocks and discovering new products and medicines. It officially began in 1992 by Canada's International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But was only in December 2008, the UN General Assembly passed a Declaration to officially recognised the day and since 2009, annually we celebrate a World Oceans Day on 8 June. 

Even Oceans Day org website reported that for 2020 World Oceans Day is growing the global movement to call on world leaders to protect 30% of our blue planet by 2030. This critical need is called 30x30. By safeguarding at least 30% of our oceans through a network of highly protected areas we can help ensure a healthy home for all. 

Even United Nations Secretary-General said, “The upcoming United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will provide impetus and a common framework for action. I urge Governments and all stakeholders to commit to the conservation and sustainability of the oceans through innovation and science.” 

Impact of Social Media  

Many Underwater videos were shared across social media to celebrate the occasion, warn against plastic pollution. Even in India various ministers and people tweeted on the occasion of world ocean day 2020 to create awareness among others. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik tweeted, “Oceans are lungs of our planet as they generate most of the oxygen and play a critical role in regulating climate. They are a major source of water-vital to our survival, a major source of food & medicine. On World Oceans Day, let us take a pledge to prevent ocean plastic pollution.” Son of the legendary environmentalist and conservationist Steve Irwin, Robert Irwin shared an image celebrating World Oceans Day as well. 

Why it is important to concern: 

About 30 per cent of the world's population lives in coastal areas and their lives are completely dependent on it. Apart from this, the contribution of oceans in speeding up the economy of many countries of the world is not hidden from anyone. Petroleum also receives many resources from the vast ocean. According to an estimate, the sea is home to about 1 million species of animals. The oceans also play an important role in providing information about the changes in climate and climate change, so it is the responsibility of each one of us to protect them. Oceans, mainly coastal ecosystems like mangroves, seagrass meadows etc., are capable of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and trapping them in the sediments. Climate change would have minimal impacts on our oceans and coastal ecosystems if we keep the health of our ecosystems. On World Oceans Day, the UN highlighted that some organisms that were discovered at extreme depths are being used to speed up the detection of COVID-19, which is an example of how the environment could provide solutions for humankind. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification. To this Goal 14: Life below Water is about Conserve and sustainably uses the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 18. The increasingly adverse impacts of climate change (including ocean acidification), overfishing and marine pollution are jeopardizing recent gains in protecting portions of the world's oceans. 

Each one of us has a role to play in saving our oceans and no effort is insignificant. These can be followed by following 5R’s:  

  • Reduce

  • Reuse

  • Recycle

  • Repurpose

  • Refuse

We must pledge to protect them and to use their resources sustainably. Protect and Preserve the Ocean's valuable resources. Our Oceans, Our Future..!! 

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