8 June is celebrated internationally as World Oceans Day to make aware people of the significance of the water bodies which surround the Earth and contribute nearly 70% of the planet’s surface area. Oceans hold 97% of the total water present on Earth and are the habitat of trillions of aquatic animals of different species possessing about 90% of Earth’s biosphere.
Oceans are an important component of Earth’s hydrosphere and there are 5 oceans according to common definitions. In the decreasing order of area, these oceans are the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Southern, and the Arctic Oceans with so enormous size that less than 20% of oceans have been explored to date.
History of World Oceans Day:
In 1992, the concept of World Oceans Day was suggested by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development and the Ocean Institute of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
World Oceans Day Theme
Its theme for World Oceans Day, 2021 is ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’ which refers to the importance of oceans in maintaining the life of organisms and supporting humanity.
Importance of Oceans:
- Oceans are a very important part of our planet which are home to many aquatic animals and thus are an important source of food especially fish which accounts for 16% of total animal protein consumed by the people. Also, there are many other nutrients like sodium, calcium, magnesium, etc. which are present in seaweed.
- Oceans have a very vast surface area and hence a large amount of water vapor is produced by the evaporation of water. It helps in raining on the land due to which plants and crops grow and makes the planet greener. Also, it makes a larger part of the Earth’s surface habitable by transporting the hot water from the equator to the poles and the cold water from the poles to the equator. Without these currents, the weather in some regions would be extreme and only a small part of the planet would be habitable.
- The phytoplankton is a microscopic plant that lives in the oceans and acts the same way as the leaves of plants. They produce oxygen and are responsible for at least 50% of the oxygen on Earth. They also consume carbon dioxide and transfer about 10 gigatons of carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere to the deep ocean every year. These are one of the tiniest yet very important living beings on our planet.
- Oceans provide jobs to millions of people like the fisherman who earn a living by fishing and selling them in the markets. Also, the best holiday spots include the areas near the oceans like the beaches where visitors can swim, surf, dive, and have fun which in turn helps the nation economically as well.
Facts on World Oceans Day
- The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen.
- The ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.
- Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.
- Over three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihood.
- The ocean contains 50-80 per cent of all life on Earth.
- Only one per cent of the ocean is legally protected.
- Harmful algae blooms are increasing; they can cause massive fish kills and contaminate seafood with toxins.
- Oceans help in reducing climate change by storing large amounts of carbon dioxide. But increasing levels of dissolved carbon are making the seawater more acidic.
- About 70 per cent of the oxygen we breathe is produced by the oceans.
- The sea is home to the world’s largest living structure – the Great Barrier Reef. It is 2,600 km long and can seen from the Moon.
- We have only explored about five per cent of the world’s oceans and there are a lot more that needs to be discovered.
- According to World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), there are currently at least 236,878 named marine species.
- 90 per cent of all volcanic activity occurs in the oceans.
Source: (UN, UNESCO, US EPA, natgeokids.com)
Causes of Ocean Pollution:
Oceans are very important for our planet yet these are being polluted by excessive human activities which affect marine life as well as the life on the land. The following are the main causes of ocean pollution:
- Sewage: The polluting substances enter the rivers and other water bodies through drainages or sewage and hence reach the ocean which causes pollution of the oceans. It leads to the decay of the plant life in the ocean and the quality of the water in the oceans which highly affects aquatic life.
- Toxic Chemicals: Industrial, as well as agricultural waste, contains chemicals that are highly toxic for animals and plants which results in ocean pollution. These chemicals cause an increase in the temperature of the ocean and hence destroy the aquatic animals and plants which cannot survive in higher temperatures.
- Plastic waste: Single-use plastic is one of the biggest causes of ocean pollution and causes the death of many aquatic animals. The plastic is non-biodegradable and hence is highly toxic for these animals.
World Oceans Day Quotes
- “Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.” —William Arthur Ward
- “No water, no life. No blue, no green.”- Sylvia Plath
- “There is going to be no life. We are going to save our oceans. On the occasion of World Oceans Day, Let us join hands to save them. Happy World Oceans Day.”
- “You will love the ocean. It makes you feel small. But not in a bad way. Small because you realize you’re part of something bigger.”- Lauren Myracle
- Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time. – H. P. Lovecraft
- .Being out there in the ocean, God’s creation, it’s like a gift he has given us to enjoy. – Bethany Hamilton
- To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships, with men in them. What stranger miracles are there? – Walt Whitman
Oceans are a very important part of our planet which keeps the life cycle maintained, provides food with essential nutrients, helps economically, regulates the climate, and houses many species of aquatic animals. But nowadays, the oceans are getting polluted by bad human activities due to which the aquatic animals and plants are highly affected. Plastic waste is a major cause of ocean pollution which can be easily reduced by using alternatives to plastic.
We have to control the pollution-causing activities and should help our oceans to become pollution-free and the marine life to become healthy again. We need to aware our upcoming generation of the significance of the Oceans and other water bodies so that they will create a healthy and pollution-free environment.