Since the beginning, people have exploited the ocean. We regarded it as an endless supply of food, a useful transport route, and a convenient place to dump human wastes. Because of these human activities, especially over the last few decades, we have finally pushed the oceans to their limits. The largest living space on Earth is deteriorating very fast due to overfishing, pollution, being taken for granted, carelessly being abused and destroyed by every human. The negative effects of our own selfishness do not only threaten and affect the marine habitats and its species, but the health, living standards, and security of all humans as well.
90% of the world’s fisheries are already fully exploited and overfished. Billions of unwanted fish and other animals die in the process because some people use destructive methods to pull their catches. Some fishermen uses explosives and bottom trawling, both of it destroying the sea floor habitat and scoops up other species that will be tossed aside. This causes many species to be listed as threatened and endangered. Unsustainable fishing is the largest threat to the ocean life and habitats, and affecting the livelihoods and food security of people all over the world.
Our planet is covered with over 70% of the ocean, but only 3.4% of it is being protected. The worst part is, the majority of the world’s few marine parks and reserves are protected in name only. Humans are not properly educated or they simply do not really care about the ocean because they still continue to hunt down endangered species like sharks. Shark finning, where sharks are captured to get their fins, should be stopped.
Tourism and development
People are developing coastlines into housing projects and other tourist developments. Many of the beaches now are inhabited by humans and the intense presence is taking its toll on the marine life.
Oceans are also like highways, ships are always travelling to transport people or carry different kinds of goods. Because of this traffic, ships are also leaving marks in the oceans that include: oil spills, ship groundings, anchor damage, and the dumpish of human and oily wastes. All of these marks are endangering marine habitats worldwide.
Oil and gas
Oceans are major sources of oil, gas, and minerals. But due to the prospecting and drilling activities of humans, it poses a major threat to sensitive marine habitats and species. There is also a threat of chemical and oil spills in the ocean floor that can seriously damage the ocean. The worst part is the rehabilitation process for the ocean will took several years before it completely heals the damage.
Human wastes in the land greatly affect the marine life. Pollutants in the land, such as: untreated sewage, garbage, fertilizers, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and plastics; eventually goes into the ocean. Some people are even deliberately dumping their wastes in the bodies of water. We all know that one of the major food sources of humans is the oceans. Thus, it is not surprising that the negative effects in the marine life are also harming humans.
Still because of human activities, it resulted into global warming and climate change that have already marked an effect on the oceans. We can now observe coral bleaching, rising sea levels, and changing species distributions.
The WWF or the World Wildlife Fund is one of the largest organizations in the world. They aim to conserve nature and ecological processes by preserving biodiversity, ensuring sustainable use of natural resources and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful use of resources and energy. They currently have five strategies to attain their goal:
- Advocate for integrated ocean management
- Support small-scale fisheries and sustainable aquaculture
- Promote the value of services provided by ecosystems
- Manage the impacts of extractive industries
- Promote sustainable marine tourism
If you are interested to promote caring for the ocean to other people, you can start by volunteering for an organization. There are several local and international groups that you can join. You can contribute by creating a website for your group, with this you will be able to: inform other people about issues in the oceans; encourage people to participate in your activities; and persuade them to join. You can also ask people for donations to help in your projects or you can sell items that can promote the organization’s plans. The income will be used as a source of funds. There are several online marketing tools that can help you. If you wanted to know more, this great website will guide you about the best tool that will suit your needs.
As what Mother Teresa once said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” If only people will have more active participation to solve the issues regarding the oceans, then it is possible to still save the marine life and have balance in our nature.