Wednesday, June 10, 2009

World's oceans need rescue from human carelessness

Environment News Service: Human activities are taking a "terrible toll" on the world's oceans and seas, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today in a message marking the first United Nations World Oceans Day. "Vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as corals, and important fisheries are being damaged by over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing practices, invasive alien species and marine pollution, especially from land-based sources," said Ban.

Increased ocean temperatures, sea-level rise and ocean acidification caused by climate change pose further threats to marine life, coastal and island communities and national economies, he said.

Although World Oceans Day has been celebrated by many countries since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro where it was proposed by the government of Canada, the UN General Assembly decided last year to make it an officially recognized UN annual observance on June 8.

Oceans provide 97.5 percent of the Earth's water and cover 70 percent of the planet's surface. Oceans generate most of the oxygen humans and animals breathe, regulates the climate and offers an array of foods and medicines. But a rising tide of marine litter is harming oceans and beaches worldwide, says a new report released today by the UN Environment Programme and Ocean Conservancy….

Kew Beach at sunrise. Toronto, Canada -- not exactly the ocean, but you get the idea. A nice shot by John Vetterli, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License

No comments: