OUR Oceans, OUR Future
AS the world celebrates World Oceans Day today, it is important to remember that the oceans affect the entire earth, not just the coastal areas. To survive and prosper, we all need healthy oceans. Oceans generate half of the oxygen people breathe, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce the impact of climate change. The diversity and productivity of the world’s oceans is of vital interest for humans and for the wonderful species that inhabit the ocean.
There are over 1 million known species of plants and animals in the ocean that we know of and scientists say there may be as many as 9 million species we have not discovered yet.
South Africa is blessed with a coastline stretching more than 2 500 kilometres from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast southwards around the tip of Africa and then northeast to the border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean.
World Oceans Day is officially recognised by the United Nations and is an annual celebration on 8 June as well as a call for ocean conservation action throughout the year.
Promoted and coordinated by the Ocean Project, since 2002, in partnership with a network of diverse organisations, the effort has expanded to over 100 countries, including South Africa, where it is endorsed by the Department of Environmental Affairs.
Over the years, the global network of partners around our planet has grown to include approximately 2 000 organisations, including aquariums, zoos, museums, youth groups, sailors, divers, swimmers and other recreational interest groups, the maritime industry, governments, the tourism sector, conservation organisations, universities, schools, businesses and many others.
Each year an increasing number of countries and organisations mark 8 June as an opportunity to celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea.
World Oceans Day reminds us that reducing pollution in all our waterways is a year-round commitment that we can all undertake.