World Oceans Day 2021, Africa’s Impact

by Duke Magazine

As today, June 8 marks World Oceans Day, there is a great need to inform the public on the impact of anthropogenic actions on the ocean.

The United Nations says: “World Oceans Day reminds everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet and a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere.”

However, Africa is no stranger to man-made disasters in its oceans.

In August 2020, the pristine coast in Mauritius turned black after a major oil spill caused by a Japanese ship that ran aground.

Before the grappling of the leak, about 1,000 tonnes of oil had seeped into the Indian Ocean, making it the worst environmental disaster Mauritius has seen.

Tens of thousands of people volunteered for the clean-up and more than 50 whales and dolphins washed up dead on the island’s shores.

Nevertheless, oil spillages are not the only concern for Africa’s oceans. Pollution and plastic bags and bottles are also a huge of worries to ponder on as most of it ends up on the sea bed.

This pollutants can be highly toxic, such that they can be ingested by marine animals and find their way into the human food chain.

Furthermore, overfishing is also a global concern, as marine life is highly threatened and consequently the fishing industry, which many Africans are dependent on for their livelihoods.

The UN says: “even though all its benefits, the ocean is now in need of support.”

“With 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished. To protect and preserve the ocean and all it sustains, we must create a new balance, rooted in true understanding of the ocean and how humanity relates to it”

Oceans cover over 70% of the planet and produce at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen.

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