Think blue, go green
AS a universal rule, awareness can impel people to change their views. Particularly when it comes to the customary perceptions and traditional belief about life, factual knowledge can modify human behaviour.
The notion is well applicable to the myths about oceans and misconceptions such as; marine resources are infinite or Oceans are global trash bin that can assimilate all kinds of pollutant etc.
These perceptions can only be altered through creating awareness about seas. Human pursuit for growth and socio-economic development has affected oceans badly.
The urge for constant development has resulted into a tug of war between forces of economy and environment.
The money we earn allows us to pamper ourselves with facilities and products to make everyday life convenient, despite the fact that this convenience, whether in the form of car or ready to eat food, has been a contributing cause of climate change, acidification of oceans and degradation of natural resources.
Unfortunately, manmade challenges like pollution, improper dumping of sewage and un-regulated/illegal exploration of marine resources are threatening the balance of life created by nature.
It’s a vicious cycle which can only be broken by creating awareness amongst masses about making conscious choices and adopt sustainable life style.
It is anticipated that efforts aimed at protecting Oceans will become much coherent once the role and significance of seas in sustenance of human life is well realized.
Covering 70 percent of the planet earth, global oceans provide oxygen we breathe; takeaway half of the CO2 we produce, feed us and regulate the climate of world.
Recreational and social services of coasts are immense. Oceans are home to the greatest abundance of life on planet. Earlier generations have failed to develop a sustainable framework for economic development and harness the oceanic resources in environmental friendly manner.
Currently global oceans are suffering from irreparable damage due to human intervention. The plastic is expected to outnumber fish in the seas by 2050. Reports suggest 100 million marine animals die each year from plastic waste.
Marine ecosystems are under serious threat, half of the global coral reefs and mangroves around the world are already affected due to dumping of tons of untreated waste and chemicals.
According to UNESCO, discharge of industrial waste, chemicals, untreated sewage and agriculture runoff including pesticides account for 80% of global marine pollution.
In the global oceans, 500 dead zones have been discovered so far and the largest dead zone found is in the Arabian Sea near the Gulf of Oman.
We can solve these issues by working together by making some efforts to live a plastic free environment-friendly life and by educating people about sustainable usage and exploration of marine resources.
The efforts should not be confined to celebrating international days and table talks amongst experts in designated events. It requires a continued effort year-round.
While we are going through transformation due to the Corona pandemic, we must think about health of our oceans which is at the critical stage. Let’s think about innovative ideas that can help and protect oceans.
One very appropriate way to contribute towards ocean protection, while our mobilization has been significantly restricted due to COVID -19, is raising awareness through academic and social media platforms.
The institutions working for ocean awareness need support from people from all walks of life to drive a positive change – whatever new information you learn about oceans and environment-friendly life style share it with people around you – This little contribution will be a key to address the sea blindness and sensitize masses about significance of oceans.
While Government must do its part and strictly implement already prevailing national laws for protection of environment, one should also realize that there is one planet, we have only one big ocean, and we all are responsible for its protection and sustenance.
—The writer is a contributing columnist, based in Canada.