The United Nations General Assembly has designated 8th June each year as “World Oceans Day” (WOD) to raise global awareness of the vital importance of our oceans and the role the play in sustaining a healthy planet.
The global theme for this year’s celebration is: “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”. In Ghana, the day is being observed under the theme “Sustainable Oceans, our Survival”.
The theme underlines the need to adopt novel solutions to address the ever-growing challenges to the oceans. The theme is especially relevant ahead of the celebration of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, scheduled from 2021 to 2030 with the view to strengthening international cooperation to develop scientific research and innovative technologies that can connect ocean science with the needs of society.
World Oceans Day is celebrated to educate people about the importance of oceans and the importance of protecting waterways, watersheds and ocean waters and habitat and to encourage citizens of the world to take action to preserve and protect the oceans as oceans generate 80% of our oxygen.
The World Oceans Day offers an opportunity to global leaders and all people to act together to protect and conserve the oceans. This year’s celebration will focus on innovations that have the potential to address the challenges of the oceans. Experts will also use the opportunity to explore innovations across various fields, including technology, systems infrastructure, resource management, consumer products, finance and scientific exploration, to help protect the oceans.
The theme reminds us of the global endowment of the oceans in terms of food, energy, tourism, trade, maritime transport, oil and gas and recreation and international trade.
Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, reducing the impacts of global warming.
The sea regulates our climate. It soaks up the heat and transports warm water from the equator to the poles, and cold water from the poles to the tropics.
Ghana, as a coastal State, needs to find innovative ways of utilizing its ocean resources without compromising the marine and coastal ecosystems that support live on earth.
However, human activities such as indiscriminate disposal of waste, particularly plastics and organic waste on our beaches, indiscriminate sand winning and over fishing have adversely impacted our marine and coastal resources.
We must be reminded that the oceans are the lungs of our planet; without the ocean there will be no life.
By working together, we can and will protect and restore our shared oceans. It is our individual and collective responsibility to reduce land based sources of waste that enter the oceans.
PROF. KWABENA FRIMPONG-BOATENG
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