Unfortunately, there has been so much, mostly man-made degradation of our environment and the climate, affecting the vast chunks of our oceans that we now have an uphill task to correct the horrible multifaceted effects on every segment of our ocean water.

Yet, indeed, ours is a world which survives and moves forward with balance in all things. The human race creates situations and disasters and then goes to find ways to resolve them.

The World Oceans Day is held every year on June 8 to raise awareness of the vital importance of our oceans and the role they play in sustaining a healthy planet. Oceans provide food, generate oxygen, regulate our climate and so much more. This global celebration recognises the importance of preserving healthy oceans. We celebrate World Oceans Day to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. It is a day to celebrate the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean together.

We celebrate World Oceans Day to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life.

On this Day, Pakistan re-affirms its commitment and resolve to preserve sustainable use of oceans and marine resources, while making conscious efforts to empower men & women in various economic activities related to the oceans.

At today’s critical juncture, undeniably, what Pakistan needs badly is a sustainable environment for peace and development, especially in the context of what is called SDGs of the United Nations.

In Pakistan, the Navy plays a leading role promoting safe and sustainable use of all ocean resources. Some of the major PN initiatives include: marine scientific research, oceanography, fisheries, marine policy making and management, plus beach cleaning, construction of harbour debris collection barges, intensified mangrove plantation, banning the use of destructive fishing nets, tackling oil pollution at sea and coordination with industrial community to reduce waste dumping into the sea. Another pivotal area pursued by PN is the promotion of formal Maritime Education, especially for the women. Bahria University, under PN auspices has commenced Graduate and Masters programmes for male and female students both.

There is a serious need to protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. A marine science communicator calls for more widespread, connected and effective marine protected areas. In 2019, a study projected that in a low emission scenario, sea level will rise 30 centimetres by 2050 and 69 cms by 2100, relatively to the level in 2000. In a high emission scenario, it will be 34 cm by 2050 and 111 cm by 2100.

This is ominous as many territorial chunks are submerging and several cities, like Charleston in South Carolina, could be underwater by the year 2100, and parts of Miami beach are sinking at the rate of 2/3 mm a year, with some houses already down by 6-9 inches, and many quays in Florida to vanish altogether in just 20 yrs.

The warming trend over the last 50 years (about 0.13° C or 0.23° F per decade), affecting the ecosystem, is nearly twice that for the last 100 years. The average amount of water vapor in the atmosphere has increased since at least the 1980s over land and ocean.

Keeping the ocean healthy is the top-most policy. The ocean provides half of the oxygen mankind breathes, and without it the planet would be twice as hot, given how much of the polluting CO₂ it has absorbed in the past century. Over three billion people depend on the ocean for food, and coastal communities everywhere, often among the most deprived in the world, are made more vulnerable by an unstable, unhealthy ocean.

Salahuddin Choudhry

The writer is a Rotarian and former senior career diplomat.

He tweets

@SaladinCh and can be reached on saladinch168