The ocean is our life source and we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished. June 8th marks World Ocean Day and this year the theme is “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”. Oceans are considered the lungs of the planet so the purpose of this day is to inform and educate people about the impact of human actions on the oceans.
Did You Know?
- It is estimated that over 40 million people will be employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.
- The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen.
- The ocean absorbs 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans which buffers the impacts of global warming.
- 90% of fish populations have been depleted and 50% of coral reefs have been destroyed.
How We Impact The Oceans
Carbon Emissions – oceans play a vital role in maintaining the balance of carbon in the air by absorbing it. The carbon dioxide reacts with the ocean water to form carbonic acid. Increased acidity threatens coral, shellfish and threatens entire marine ecosystems. Scientists predict that if carbon emissions do not decrease from the current rate than there will be mass extinction of corals by the end of the century.
Oil Spills – the effect of oil spills can affect ecosystems for at least decades. Exposure to oil can affect marine life by reduced growth, reproduction impairment, enlarged livers and changes in heart and respiration rates. The BP spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico killed around 82,000 birds, 6165 sea turtles, 25,900 marine mammals and an unknown number of fish.
Plastic Pollution – at least 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our ocean each year. That’s the equivalent of setting five bags of garbage on every foot of coastline around the world.
Plastic is often mistaken for food and marine life ingest or get tangled up in this plastic causing serious injuries and even death.
How Can I Help?
Conserve Water – use less water so wastewater will not flow into the ocean. One way you could do this is not running the tap whilst you brush your teeth or reducing the number of baths you have and instead have more showers.
Use Plastic-free Alternatives – plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose. Say no to single use plastics such as straws, plastic cutlery, water bottles etc.
Sign This Petition – scientists say we need half of the planet to prevent the extinction of a million species. Sign the 30x30 to start by protecting 30% of the planet by 2030! To find out more click here.
We hope you learnt a little about how we impact the oceans and how we can play a small part in contributing to saving our oceans. After all, we wouldn’t be here without them. Happy World Ocean Day!
By Pooja Depala