World Ocean Day is observed on June 8 every year. By its resolution 63/111 of 5 December 2008, the UN General Assembly designated 8 June as World Oceans Day. The concept of a ‘World Oceans Day’ was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a way to celebrate our world’s shared ocean and our personal connection to the sea, as well as to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the important ways people can help protect it.
While the theme for this year’s World Oceans Day is ‘gender for the ocean’, handling plastic pollution in oceans remains the biggest task in front of everyone. According to the United Nations, 13,000,000 (13 million?) tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean every 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.