KARACHI: World Ocean Day is being celebrated today, Saturday, in countries around the world, including Pakistan.
The day is celebrated to raise awareness about the impact of human actions on oceans and mobilise the world’s population to work collectively towards the sustainable management of oceans. It is aimed at creating awareness about the importance of water, safety of marine life and ways to curb water pollution.
The coastal belt of Pakistan extends to 1,050 kilometers, out of which 700 kilometers lie in Balochistan and 350 kilometers lie in Sindh. According to an estimate, about four million people are involved in marine fishing in Pakistan. Fish, prawns and other marine creatures collected from the sea are exported to various parts of the world and serve as an important source of foreign exchange. However, oil spilled by cargo ships and large boats and untreated pollutants discharged from factories into the sea are a major cause of pollution and threat to marine life.
Oceans are a source of 40 per cent of fresh water available across the world, contribute to 75 percent oxygen in the air and and serve as a source of human food. However, these vast water bodies are imperiled by human actions and pollution.
According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Technical Director Moazzam Ali Khan, humans have done irreparable damage to oceans during the past few centuries and there hardly seems to be a way out of the ensuing destruction.
Earlier, it was believed that oceans being vast water bodies couldn’t be damaged by human actions. However, recent studies reveal that the presence of toxic chemicals in the oceans has caused irreparable damage to these water bodies.
Speaking in this regard, Khan said that waste and garbage shouldn’t be disposed in seas and oceans as these water bodies play an important role in balancing the ecosystem in Pakistan. He said that rains in the country depend heavily on Arabian Sea which mandates that everyone is responsible for its preservation and protection.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2019.