Oceans take up over 70 per cent of Earth’s surface and over 90 per cent of our planet’s habitable surface. Roughly 97 per cent of the water found in this globe is in the oceans. The aquamarine world also harbours countless species of fish and plants. The latter produces most of the oxygen on this planet. Oceans provides us with food and livelihood. Yet we, as a species, have significantly compromised this biodiverse domain for our greed.
World Oceans Day is observed annually on June 8 to make people aware of the negative impact of human activities such as garbage disposal, sewage, oil leaks from ships and drilling station accidents. Below, we take a look at the day’s history, this year’s theme and its significance.
On June 8, 1992, at the Earth Summit of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the Oceans Institute of Canada proposed the idea of the observance of an international ocean’s day. It took 16 more years for this concept to bear fruit. In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly, led by Canada, passed the resolution 63/111, through which they declared that June 8 would be observed every year as World Ocean’s Day. The inaugural observance happened a year later and had the theme “Our Ocean, Our Responsibility.”
The theme for this year is World Oceans Day is “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods.” As noted by the United Nations, more than three billion people work in ocean-based industries and that number will rise with a growing human population. Sustainable use of oceans is needed to prevent oceanic resources from being depleted or damaged to alarming levels.
Awareness on a mass scale is needed to preserve our oceans and their rich biodiversity. Whether it is fishermen, corporate bodies or individuals, all must realise the importance of maintaining the health of oceans for their own good. The UN has also proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will begin this year and run till 2030. This is to encourage cooperation among nations for research and the creation of technologies that help both the oceans and our society.