Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean
In the entire solar system, perhaps the earth is the only planet where life exists and contain large amounts of water. 70% of the earth is covered by water and oceans constitute ~97% of water available on earth. The ocean has a huge contribution in driving and regulating the climate cycle and home of millions of plants, animals, micro-organism and the planet’s largest animal the blue whale. The phytoplankton, microscopic organisms at the ocean’s surface produced about half of the world’s oxygen and is the main source of ocean life.
World Economic Forum reiterates how asset the sea is for the planet and plays a huge contribution to the economy of the countries. Nearly 10% of the world’s population lives in coastal areas and fishery is the main source of livelihood for most of the fishermen community in the developing countries.
Sustaining human life has a strong linkage to oceans, ironically overzealous humans became responsible for its ruin. Ocean pollution (80% coming from land-based activities), oil, chemicals and garbage making way into the waters of the sea, overexploiting of marine food affecting the health of oceans. UNESCO reports that by 2100, half of the world’s marine biodiversity will be on the verge of extinction.
In the race of development, all countries are competing to get ahead of each other, and one major calamity is the overexploiting the natural resources. Exploiting the ocean resources is no exception. The societies which will promote sustainable development would win the race.
To raise awareness about the crucial role played by oceans, a proposal to celebrate ocean day has been discussed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, in 2008 UN, designated 8 June as World Oceans Day. “Innovation for a sustainable ocean” is the theme for the year 2020. This year’s theme is especially relevant in the lead-up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will run from 2021 to 2030.
As the challenges to the ocean continue to grow, so does the need for novel solutions and the people driving them. International cooperation is essential to strengthen and develop scientific research and technologies in the field of ocean science. It is essential to enhance the scientific developments and capacity building in the developing countries and island nations.
The treasures of the deep sea are helping humanity on the health front too. It is reported that by making use of the property of some of the microbes containing enzymes that remained stable at extreme temperatures, scientists are working to develop technology that can be used to quickly diagnose the Covid-19 virus. In the past Compounds found here have given us new treatments for cancer. Scientists believe that new antibiotics for fighting against superbugs can be developed from what we find in the deep sea. These unstudied depths could also hold the key to understanding the beginnings of life on earth. More than 80% of the ocean is unmapped and unexplored, which leaves open the question for scientists.
Prof Shailesh Nayak, a reputed researcher in this domain and Director of NIAS opines that oceans have a lot to offer for sustainable development and explains the importance of nurturing “Blue economy” (to know more access https://niascomm.in/2020/01/21/lets-talk-blue-economy/ ).
Recall the song in the 60s by Mukesh (lyrics by Indivar and music by Roshan),
Oh re tal mile nadi ke jal me,water of a pond goes into a river,
nadi mile sagar me
Sagar mile kaun se jal me,
koyi janey naa…
river goes into an ocean,
where does the water of the ocean go to mingle?
If we do not take care of Ocean how it would survive.
Let us raise awareness so that we live in a world with sustainable development.
For sustainable development, we need to take care of earth, ocean and everything that lives on this planet.
Toons by Reema Jaiswal and Taskeen Bhat
Logs from: Kartikay Shukla and M. Sai Baba