Environment

World Oceans Day

Since 2009 we celebrate World Oceans Day to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life.

Photo: World Ocean Day/Bernard Spragg.

Photo: World Ocean Day/Bernard Spragg.

Oceans are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe.

The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world's oceans. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere. In the end, it is a day to celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.

Action focus for 2018: preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.

Plastic pollution is causing tremendous harm to our marine resources.

80% of all pollution in the ocean comes from people on land.

8 million tonnes of plastic per year ends up in the ocean, wreaking havoc on wildlife, fisheries and tourism.

Plastic pollution costs the lives of 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year.

Fish eat plastic, and we eat the fish.

Plastic causes $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year.

Facts and Figures

Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water, and represent 99 per cent of the living space on the planet by volume.

Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.

Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year or about 5 per cent of global GDP.

Oceans contain nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions.

Oceans absorb about 30 per cent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 2.6 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein.

Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people.

Subsidies for fishing are contributing to the rapid depletion of many fish species and are preventing efforts to save and restore global fisheries and related jobs, causing ocean fisheries to generate US$ 50 billion less per year than they could.

As much as 40 per cent of the world oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including pollution, depleted fisheries, and loss of coastal habitats.

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