25 October, 2022

“The world is a fine place worth fighting for.” – Ernest Hemingway.

In the year 2021, a Netflix documentary film on the activities of commercial fishing and its ripple effects on the environment was released and it sparked conversations on the internet about how the ocean has been subjected to wanton exploitation. People were reminded, even if it was for a short while, that marine life is suffering and that if it is destroyed, if the coral reefs die, if its entire ecosystem collapses, then we will die too because the ocean absolves most of the harmful substances in the air, it purifies our air and it is under severe assault by extreme profit-driven actors.

The earth is called the blue planet because the ocean covers more parts of our planet than land does. Now, the ocean faces a challenge like never before and we are the catalyst and the enablers of this problem that is threatening to kill the ocean and ultimately, the planet. The ocean remains the most unexplored part of our planet with a wild range of undiscovered species and mysteries that holds us in awe as much as space exploration does.  This magnificent environment is under serious threat from human activities and we are well on course to having more plastic materials in the ocean than fish by the middle of this century.

This situation should alarm anyone interested in keeping the earth habitable for us and other species, marine and otherwise, for a long time to come. Collectively, we have continued to produce too much trash that is being dumped in the ocean. An estimated amount of about 14 billion pounds of plastics are dumped into the ocean each year and this activity is causing serious damage to ocean-dwelling wildlife, in the North Pacific Ocean lies the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that of floating debris that is three times the size of France, commercial fishing is depleting marine population while oil spills are painting water bodies black.

Millions of marine life are disappearing every year because of these activities and there are now dead zones in the ocean that are so polluted that marine life can no longer survive there. The ocean’s ecosystem is slowly decaying and this will result in severe repercussions for the planet in general.

Things are like this now because of long years of pollution. Every part of the environment including land, air and water bodies is under assault by our polluting culture and it wouldn’t be too long before it might be too late to salvage the situation.

The question of how we can end this dangerous trend has been asked and various solutions have been proffered. Primarily, reducing pollution and saving the ocean and the environment, in general, requires intentional and conscious effort from individuals, corporations and governments and we need to act fast because time is slowly running out. This planet is our only home and it is definitely worth fighting for.

References

  1. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/garbage-polluting-deep-remote-ocean-180951271/
  2. https://earthsky.org/earth/great-pacific-garbage-patch-bigger-than-thought/
  3. https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/plankton/every-breath-you-take-thank-ocean

 

By Sunmisola Olude

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