24 September 2018

World Sea Day


The World Sea Day has been marked since 1978 by decision of the 38th session of the International Marine Organization of November 1977, initially celebrated on March 17. Since 1980 it's been celebrated on one of the days of the last week of September. The goal of the World Sea Day is drawing the community's attention to problems, connected with the pollution of water basins, global warming and illegal fishing.


The sea always fascinated people. Many poets and artists worship the sea in their works while people of all walks of life annually dream about a holiday at the seaside. 


At the same time, according to the UN, annually about 21 million barrels of oil leak into the ocean causing death of tens of thousands of seabirds and mammals. 


Over the last 100 years 90% of the world reserves of tuna and codfish have been fished out. 


The global warming has led to the rise of the world ocean water level by 10-25 cm. The myth that the global water resources are inexhaustible has seriously affected the biodiversity of the world ocean, Alexei Knizhnikov, the coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund's department for the environmental policy in oil and gas sector, says. 


"Just two examples. Whale fishery has almost killed some species of whales. The classical example for Russia is the gray whale in the Okhotsk Sea. It had been considered to be extinct way back in 20th century. But in the end of the 20th century a hundred of these whales was detected and now we are doing our best to preserve the population of these whales. The second example is the extinction of sturgeon because of very aggressive fishing." 


The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April when an explosion of an oil rig led caused a huge oil spill showed how terrible the negative impact of human beings on the environment can be, the expert says. 


"That oil spill has halted the industrial fishing in the water area which size is equal to the size of Greece. The environment disasters are now getting country-scale and the next step is a continent-scale."


The ecologists urge the oil companies which are planning to develop oil deposits in the Arctic region to be very careful. The Arctic environment with its ice coverage is completely different from the conditions in the Gulf of Mexico so the consequences of a similar disaster there will be irreversible. According to Knizhnikov, the level of modern oil technologies, the legal base and the scientific knowledge of the Arctic eco-systems are not sufficient yet to make drilling work environmentally safe. While the gaps exist we should not risk the ecosystems and start drilling in the Arctic region, he says. 


The world ocean is a territory for the global dialogue. This is also a global challenge. The ocean quickly reacts on all changes around it. The ocean's response to any interference into its eco system can be much more frightful (terrifying) that any catastrophe movie.

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