OUR Oceans, OUR Fu­ture

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD OCEANS DAY -

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.

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