The ocean is one of the world’s most important natural resources. However, with the growing threats of pollution and over-fishing, the ocean and its species are at risk. Almost all of the water that falls to earth’s surface as rain and snow is from the ocean, which makes up 97 percent of the earth’s water supply.
Why is it important to protect the oceans and water supplies? Well, water-related crises are noted as the top global risk as of this year.
Over 750 million people lack access to clean water sources and 2.5 billion lack clean sanitation. In Africa, the leading cause of poverty is related to unclean water sources. This can cause serious health issues from cholera to guinea worm. Diseases can spread faster.
Across the world, 1.7 billion people live in or near river basins. As populations increase and droughts occur, the water is used at a greater rate than it is being replenished. Eventually, this leads to water scarcity.
As ocean levels rise, coastal areas flood. People must move and find new livelihoods. They become refugees in their own country. Floods also destroy food sources like rice fields in Southeast Asia.
The fish population in the ocean provides billions of people with necessary protein and omega 3, as well as a $3 trillion global fishing industry that employs 200 million people. As fish populations are fished out, this industry will slowly disappear, leaving thousands without a livelihood.
World Ocean Day, June 8, is about raising awareness to protect the oceans and the affects of not protecting them. It is an event supported by the UN.
The UN Development Program work with oceans is meant to promote water resource management in an effort to ensure that water is used responsibly and sources have a chance to recharge. There are also relations with NGO’s, local governments, etc. to provide clean water sources. Lastly, the UN creates functions to use water and its resources in a sustainable manner, so that for example, fish populations are not destroyed.
The goal of World Ocean Day is to address one of the issues that cause poverty and poverty-related problems like health. By committing to protect the largest water source, the ocean, people’s livelihoods are protected, crops won’t be flooded, there will always be a supply of food from the ocean and people can live.
– Katherine Hewitt