While the COVID-19 pandemic has been making headlines of late, there are several other threats that we must take cognizance about, and one among them is the degradation of our oceans. Covering more than 70% of the surface of the planet, oceans play an important role in our existence. On this World Oceans Day, let’s see why we should care for them.
While rainforests are well-known as one of the producers of oxygen, oceans are no different. They are the home to phytoplankton, a microscopic plant that majorly spends its life being carried around by ocean currents.
Just like trees on land, phytoplankton absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. They are spread across the length and breadth of oceans and produce oxygen for our survival. It’s just that they are not visible on surface, but these tiny plants found deep inside oceans are a vital source of oxygen.
Oceans play an essential role in regulating the earth’s climate. They soak up heat and transport warm water from equator to the poles and cold water from the poles to equator. Without this phenomenon, the weather could be pretty extreme, and only a few regions would become inhabitable on the planet.
Oceans play a critical role in regulating rainfalls and maintaining temperature of the planet. Without them life can be pretty difficult.
Oceans are the home to several species of fish, an important source of protein, consumed globally. Not only fish, but oceans also house a range of algae and sea plants that are used for cooking worldwide. Edible seaweeds in oceans can provide the body the much-needed nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and iodine, among others.
Marine resources are also a primary source of food for livestock. And by caring for our oceans we can preserve these resources, essential for sustainable living.
There’s more life below the ocean than present on the Earth’s surface, and the exact number of different species of animals living in oceans is yet to be figured out. Creatures living under oceans play a vital role in maintaining biodiversity and the chain of sustainable eco-system.
However, with climate change and global warming, life for marine creatures is undergoing a change that’s not conducive to the planet. With proper care of our oceans, we can maintain the biodiversity of our planet.
It’s estimated that by 2030, ocean-based industries will employ around 40  million people, with the fastest jobs expected to occur in fish processing, port activities, marine aquaculture, and off-shore wind energy, among others.
However, the viability of these jobs will depend on a large scale on the health of the oceans. Degrading quality will limit the scope of job opportunities and socio-economic benefits to the people employed in these jobs. It can also affect the earning potential of people who depend on oceans for their survival.
Apart from these, coastal towns and cities depend on oceans for driving their economy and without them, they would seize to exist. Also, given the fact that oceans play an essential role in maintaining optimum bio-diversity and oxygen levels, they need to be protected from getting degraded.
Also, oceans play an instrumental role for recreational purposes which go a long way in lowering stress levels. Climate change, pollution, and lack of awareness continue putting them at risk. It’s high time that we realise them and take robust actions to protect them for the sustainability of our present and future generations.