Listen to the Ocean, echoes of a million seashells. Forever it’s in motion, moving to a rhythmic, unwritten music that’s played eternally. Immortal songs such as this need to be remembered and replayed for World Ocean Day, which the international community marked, yesterday.
Environmental scientists have told us the horrible truth about how wicked and selfish human nature is. They estimate that every year, we dump more than eight million tonnes of plastic or polythene into the ocean. They say that about three trillion pieces of plastic or polythene are thrown into the ocean every year, fish and hundreds of other marine species eat this and many of them die. Recently, we heard of the terrible story in Thailand, where a whale died after consuming as much as 17 pounds of plastic or polythene. In turn we eat fish which have consumed plastic and give it to our children also. That may be one of the reasons why many of us are falling sick more often and some ailments cannot be diagnosed by medical specialists.
To mark World Ocean Day, the Cable News Network (CNN) telecast a report saying a coral fertility treatment designed to help heal damaged parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is showing signs of success and now needs to be scaled up to create a bigger impact. The Great Barrier Reef is regarded as one of the natural wonders of the world.
The Project Chief Peter Harrison, a professor at Southern Cross University in Australia, says he is “excited by the results” which show the experimental process known as “coral IVF” is working on a small scale. Recently returned from a trip to the reef, Mr. Harrison says his team managed to “significantly increase” the numbers of baby coral on reefs at Heron Island and One Tree Island, where they laid millions of coral larvae 18 months ago. The 2,300-kilometer-long Great Barrier Reef -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- lost around half of its coral in the past few years after two mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, a pattern repeated on coral reefs around the world, CNN says.
The bleaching occurs when warmer ocean temperatures caused by climate change put major stress on coral organisms, turning them white. If they don’t have time to recover, they eventually die.
The coral IVF project is designed to help reefs repopulate faster to help speed up the recovery time after a bleaching event. In the most recent Australian summer, there was little or no coral bleaching, but scientists expect it to start happening with increasing frequency as the planet continues heating up.
In a statement, the United Nations says, we mark World Oceans Day to remind us of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. The purpose is to inform the people 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.
The 2018 theme is preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean. Some 80% of all pollution in the ocean comes from people on land. Eight million tonnes of plastic a 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 a year. Fish eat plastic, and we eat the fish. Plastic causes $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year.
According to the UN, there are many things we can do as individuals to reduce our plastic consumption.
Remember to use less plastic and recycle the plastic you must use. Use these hashtags in social media to spread the word to help clean up our ocean: #WorldOceansDay, #SaveOurOcean.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported recently that faced with shops full of food and other goods swathed in plastic, families across the world are trying to reduce its use and recycle wherever possible to cut down its impact on the environment.
Sri Lanka, surrounded by the ocean must be fairly high on the list of pollutants. Let us take a decision today that by using less plastic, we will help prevent a catastrophe whereby within decades 50% of our oceans will be polluted by plastic.