Our oceans make up about 3/4 of Earth, so there is no denying that they are an essential factor supporting life on the planet. They absorb about 23% of carbon dioxide emissions that humans generate annually, and 90% of the climate system’s excess heat. Oceans are home to nearly a million known and unknown species to man. For the longest time, they have continued to support over 3 billion people’s economic, social, and environmental needs.
Over the years, the vast exploitation of life below water has led to an alarming degradation level. The increasing number of debris in our oceans has an impending environmental and economic impact on everyone and every living creature on this planet. According to the United Nations, “every year, an estimated 5 to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic enters the ocean, costing roughly $13 billion per year.” The primary source of pollutants in our oceans is plastic litter brought about by the massive and worldwide use of single-use plastic items. Irresponsible tourism can also pose a significant threat to our oceans and natural resources.
In protecting life below water, solutions come into different levels: global and local impact. Many countries achieve sustainability by increasing international agreements and cooperation in protecting our oceans and other natural resources. Governments must pivot into understanding the effect of climate change and create a comprehensive and inclusive plan that will efficiently and equitably conserve life below water and ensure their people a sustainable future.
In our communities, we should pivot to a lifestyle that does not harm our environment. We should make wise decisions in purchasing products that harm our environment, like avoiding single-use plastic. There is an urgent need to eliminate plastic pollution in our oceans and waterways by organizing clean-ups on our beaches or even just outside our homes. Our journey to protect our oceans can also begin by raising awareness about the importance of life below water and why we need to protect it.
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