World Oceans Day- ‘Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet’.
Oceans function as carbon sinks and help maintain the balance of the earths’ ecosystem. They harbor coral reefs, fishes, reptiles, and other species. They support the livelihoods of many and are a source of nourishment for us.
This year’s World Oceans day is focusing on plastic pollution in a special way. It is one of the greatest threats to the oceans ecosystem and to those dependent on it. Plastic which is incessantly targeting oceans, is ingested by birds, animals, fish and other marine organisms. Not only the accidentally ingested plastic, but, plastic that floats in oceans also impacts marine life by obstructing their movement and may suffocate them as well. Also, the level of oxygen that is necessary for a healthy ocean ecosystem is threatened by debris.
Plastic is hazardous to oceans as it takes a long time to degrade. In the recent years, patches of plastic have been observed in ocean waters around the world. This deteriorates the health of the ocean ecosystem. Plastic objects have been found in bodies of aquatic birds, which reflects the declining health of marine ecosystem.
The rate of production of plastic and its disposal is constantly accelerating. An article in ‘Down to Earth’ claims that, by 2050 the proportion of plastic in the ocean will be more than the population of fish.
Waste that is directly dumped in the ocean is an inevitable threat, however, waste like plastic bags which are not disposed properly may be transported to the oceans by the wind as well.
This calls for immediate action on our behalf. An efficient system to recycle and manage plastic waste is essential. Also, if we cut down on our usage of plastic, we will automatically reduce the quantity of plastic that is to be disposed off. Even a small act like carrying a cloth bag when we go shopping, instead of utilizing a plastic bag , will go a long way in curbing the plastic waste problem that is threatening our oceans.
Sylvia Earle, a reputed marine biologist once said “We need to respect the oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on it. Because they do”
A healthy ocean, evidently, leads to a healthy planet.