OCEAN LIFE AND ITS IMPORTANCE
Earth is 71% water and has the most amount of living organisms than anywhere on this planet. Out of which, humans have managed to explore only 5%, i.e., the ocean floor and its mapping. The life that thrives in all parts of the ocean affects the nature of the planet at a fundamental level. Oceans influence climate, weather, and temperature on land and are also important sources of food for humans. Oceans have the potential to provide us with new resources, a place to live, cures for diseases, climate solutions, and more. Simultaneously, the oceans need us too; with all the pollution we have created; increasing temperatures, melting ice caps, dying reefs, and much more. The continuously growing population has led to greater demand for resources pacing up the process of global warming. It is our responsibility to help and save nature. Most of the human population of the world lives near the coastal zones, and any changes in the waters will directly affect all life on land and therefore, we need to understand aquatic life and its environment.
Here’s a tiny splash of wisdom from ocean-inspired diverse voices.
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.”– John F. Kennedy
“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul.”– Wyland
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”- Jacques Cousteau
THREATS AND DANGERS TO OCEAN LIFE
There are many reasons why the ocean ecosystem is in danger, and most of them are because of unnatural and environmentally unfriendly activities of human beings. A few of them are listed below.
Today entire coastlines of many states are threatened by a combination of human activities such as oil spills, the release of toxic wastes, destruction of mangroves, land reclamation, ship breaking units, abandoning of fishing gears, and the list continues. Unchecked industrialization leads towards depleting corals, wiping out fish species, increasing land-based pollutants, and reducing the natural regenerative capacity of mangroves. The advancement of the ecological crisis has a direct effect on the coastal communities that depend upon natural resources for a living and also increases their vulnerability to natural disasters.
CONTRIBUTIONS OF PEOPLE FOR THE OCEANS
Organization: THE OCEAN CLEANUP
Founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat- ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ is a non-profit foundation that develops advanced technologies to clean the world’s oceans of plastic. Their team consists of employees of various fields such as engineers, researchers, scientists, and computational modellers. The company aims to clean up 90% of the floating ocean plastic pollution by 2040.
With love for the water, Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski created the “Seabin” which aimed to collect trash, oils, and detergents. They started with the idea of developing rubbish bins for the waters. Over time their scope of work evolved into research, technology, and educational initiatives. The design of the Seabin V5 unit, also known as trash skimmer, can be installed in marina waters, Ports, Yacht Clubs, and any other water bodies that have a calm and suitable environment. The unit can collect floating debris, plastics, microfibres, oils, and detergents.
Apart from organizations, many architects and designers are also working on enhancing sustainable living.
Architect: Koen Olthius
Dutch architect Koen Olthius’s firm, Waterstudio is working for more than a decade to developing solutions to the problems of urbanization and climate change. Their vision is to create large-scale floating urban projects as flexible and sustainable solutions.
Architect: Bjarke Ingels
Bjarke Ingels, a Danish Architect, is the founder and creative partner of Bjarke Ingels Group. He has come up with a concept of a new self-sustainable floating city- “Oceanix city”, an interconnected system of floating hexagonal islands. These modules are flexible to function and scale. There will be islands dedicated to either growing food or collecting energy while providing a buffer against waves and winds. The materials used will be ecologically friendly that encourages the growth of coral reefs.
FURTHER STEPS AND SOLUTIONS
While children continue to being educated about nature, ocean ecology, and the imbalance of the environment, people continue to abuse their power to harm the oceans. Several actions initiated by the government do help however, not up to the necessary amount.
Here are some ways in which we can protect the future of our oceans:
- Tight control over the methods used for fishing.
- Legal control over illegal activities such as sand mining, over-fishing, coral mining, abandoning of fishing gears, trade of shark fin, or any other large mammals.
- Better technology and infrastructure for surveillance of the oceans in coordination with the Coastal Guard and Navy.
- Control over the development of industries and relocating industries of the coastal lines that pollute the waters.
- Government should develop strict protective legislation specifically addressing marine conservation that includes policies concerning oil spill contingency plans, Emergency management plans, waste discharge. It is also important to encourage zero discharge technologies.
- Treatment of wastewaters such as urban sewage and toxic agricultural runoff before discharging into natural water bodies.
- Town planners, Urban Designers, and Architects should design and build systems that utilize water efficiently and sustainably.
- Encourage students to participate in coral reef-building.
- Architects in collaboration with the government can design facilities on beaches for marine life and the public, for example, educational facilities, marine conservation, and research centers, turtle hatcheries, etc.
- Promote alternative livelihoods for communities dependent on fishing.
- Educate yourself and the locals about the harm caused by abandoned fishing gear.
- Reduce personal energy consumption and carbon footprint.
- Reduce the use of plastics or use biodegradable plastics.
- Participate in beach clean-ups.
- Reduce consumption and adapt to eating plant base seafood.
- Always recycle products.
- Do not buy products that cause harm to ocean life.
- Support organizations that work in protecting the oceans.
- Influence family and friends to become ocean-friendly.
Gulf of Kutch Marine National Park and Marine Wildlife Sanctuary: A case study. (2021). [online] . Available at: https://aquadocs.org/bitstream/handle/1834/19897/Kutch.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y [Accessed 10 Aug. 2021].
The Ocean Cleanup (2019). The Ocean Cleanup. [online] The Ocean Cleanup. Available at: https://theoceancleanup.com/.
Seabin. (2019). Seabin Project – Cleaner Oceans for a Brighter Future. [online] Available at: https://seabinproject.com/.
Waterstudio. (n.d.). Waterstudio.NL Architecture, urban planning and research. [online] Available at: https://www.waterstudio.nl/ [Accessed 10 Aug. 2021].
My Modern Met. (2019). Architects Unveil Self-Sustaining Floating City at the United Nations. [online] Available at: https://mymodernmet.com/bjarke-ingels-group-floating-city/#:~:text=Architects%20Unveil%20Self-Sustaining%20Floating%20City%20at%20the%20United [Accessed 10 Aug. 2021].