There is not one word to describe the beauty of the ocean. Whenever I look at the ocean, I see the waves churning with power and mystery. I could stare at it for hours, looking at its never-ending expanse and the roaring waves without getting bored.
Currently, all I want to do is close my eyes and stand in front of the ocean with the wind whipping my hair and the cool waves crashing against my feet. I live right opposite the Arabian Sea in Mumbai. If something happened to our oceans or seas, I don’t know what I would do as the sea has always been a part of my life.
Threats to the Oceans
2000 years ago from today, the ocean was completely clean and the water levels were perfect. Sadly today, our oceans are filled with harmful oils, plastic and garbage, making it heavily polluted.
The Earth’s temperature keeps rising higher and so the glaciers keep melting into water. As a result, the ocean levels keep rising, putting coastal cities across the world at risk.
According to Resource Watch, there were 137 oil spills reported in 2018 U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In fact, one of the most devastating environmental disasters was the Deepwater Horizon spill in April 2010 that spilt around 205.8 million gallons of oil and
225,000 tons of methane into the Gulf of Mexico. Oils spills have a huge impact, they not only pose a huge threat to the fragile marine ecosystem, but it makes seafood unfit or poisonous for human consumption! According to a report The Gulf Oil Spill and the Unfolding Wildlife Disaster published by A Center For Biological Diversity Report, they have shared alarming numbers of more than 82,000 birds, 25,900 marine mammals and several species of plants, fish and other marine ecology has been harmed by the spill to date.
Several studies reveal that by 2050 parts of Mumbai, Kolkata, Florida, New York and Jakarta will be underwater. We have to realise that the impact of global warming and climate change is real and has already started making its impact all over our world.
One of the main threats our oceans face is overfishing. Overfishing is causing millions of species to go extinct. It is estimated that by 2048 the oceans will be severely damaged. It is alarming to know that 70% to 90 % of the ocean’s coral reefs will disappear in the next twenty years. This makes it imperative for us to save the oceans before it is too late.
Why are Oceans so Important?
Without the oceans, we wouldn’t be able to survive. Did you know that 50 % of the oxygen we breathe is from our oceans? The oxygen comes from marine photosynthesizers, like phytoplankton and seaweed. The oceans regulate our climate. Without the oceans there would be unbalanced amounts of greenhouse gases and then there would be too much heat combating.
Millions of people would lose their jobs as people’s livelihood depends on fishing, working in the oil industry. If sea creatures die, billions of people would not get fish to eat. There would be a massive imbalance in nature if there were no sea creatures or marine life. Natural disasters would occur more frequently. Our planet would be in utter chaos and eventually humans would go extinct. We cannot survive without the oceans, but the oceans can survive without us!
Save Our Oceans, but how?
It’s not too late to save the oceans. All of us can contribute in some way or the other, the faster we help the oceans the quicker they have a chance to recover.
Educate yourself on Marine Ecology
Firstly we can educate ourselves on topics like global warming and watch the news on climate change. Read articles and information on topics like these. You can also watch debates and follow climate activists on social media platforms. You may have heard of Greta Thunberg. She is a teenager from Sweden who is an environmental activist.
Join beach cleanliness drives
Drive Join beach cleanliness drives in your cities. Did you know that it is estimated that eight million metric tonnes of plastic go in the ocean every year? In my city, Mumbai there are many beach cleanliness drives. The residents of Juhu, an area in Mumbai, cleaned Juhu Beach and removed close to fifty thousand tonnes of garbage. I was so happy to know that after almost 20 years, the Olive Ridley turtles finally visited the Mumbai beaches because the citizens of the city worked together as a team. Volunteers help can be enlisted on social media apps like Facebook and Instagram.
Completely avoid plastic
Try not to use plastic and even if you use it reduce its usage. Recycle and reuse old products instead of throwing them away. Use metal straws and cutlery instead of plastic ones. Paper bags can be reused. Plastic or garbage on the beach should be picked up and thrown in the dustbin. Support NGOs working to save marine life.
Support & raise funds for not-for-profit organisations
We can also support not-for-profit organisations working to save the marine. You could look up Reef Watch Marine Conservation, Coastal Impact and Terra Conscious in India to name a few who are working very hard to save our marine ecosystem. You can campaign in your school, college or office and talk about climate change and ways to improve our environment. Talk about how we can make a conscious shift in the way we buy and consume products and more importantly, how we can improve our garbage disposable systems so that we don’t mess up our oceans.
Young children activists of the World
Licipirya Kangujam is a nine-year-old climate activist from Manipur, India. She has travelled to 32 countries and has spoken in about 400 institutions on climate change. She has won multiple awards and led several protests.
Licipriya believes in practice what you preach! She minimises her flight travel and also uses public transport. She gave up meat and became a vegan. A few media houses have called her the ‘Greta Thunberg of India ‘. Licipriya dislikes the label and has said that she and Greta are good friends and though we are fighting for the same cause I have my own identity’.
Alexandria Villasenor an American teenager climate activist from New York, is also a big supporter of Fridays for Future. Every Friday Alexandria skips school to protests outside the U.N. Her fight for climate change was sparked when she was caught in a smoke cloud because of a wildfire. As a sufferer of asthma, she became physically ill and during that time she researched about climate change.
I am not only writing this article because of the ocean but I am writing it for our planet. We really need to change our habits. Our Earth is dying and people seem apathetic. I sincerely hope and urge our governments that while they’re working on making our country advanced, they also pay heed to important environmental issues like climate change and global warming.
We don’t have to protest on the streets or debate with people, we can start with something small. What really matters most is that we should be aware of the current environmental situations and do our best to save our oceans and wildlife.
Contributor: Kavya Mehta
About our Writing Program Student
Kavya Mehta is a 13-year-old girl 7th grader from Mumbai who loves reading, writing stories and listening to music. She also loves learning new languages and knowing about the countries of the world. Kavya takes a keen interest in reading about mental health, she plays the violin and enjoys spending time with cats and dogs!