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World Ocean Day (2021)





Why should we care about the world’s oceans?

“The sea cures all the ailments of man”- Plato


Earth is a habitat to five (5) ocean basins, namely, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic which comprise 70% of the Earth’s surface. Together, these ocean basins provide enormous benefit to humans and all living creatures on earth. The ocean provides more than just seafood (fish, crustaceans, shellfishes), which many of us are made to believe. Have you ever wondered where the oxygen you breathe come from? The ocean produce over half of the world’s oxygen and absorbs 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere. Without this role, our planet would have been oxygen-deprived and far hotter than we are currently experiencing! They regulate our climate and weather by equally distributing the heat from the equator to the poles. Seventy-six percent (76%) of the world’s trade revolves around the ocean, making it an enabler of global commerce. Many medicinal products come from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and various heart diseases. Aside these benefits to man, the ocean is home to billions of organisms that inhabit our planet, who look up to us, humans, for their safety and survival.


In fact new ingredients and products are constantly being sought from the ocean to fight many traditional and emerging diseases. Other physical resources found in the oceans include petroleum (crude oil), pearls and minerals such as copper, zinc, nickel, gold, silver and phosphorus. All these resources provide food, source of livelihood and employment, income and source of recreation, to make life more comfortable for man. In terms of recreation, fishing, surfing, boating, and whale watching provide aesthetic values and alternative forms of de-stressing to man. The Oceans economy produces US$282 billion in goods and services and ocean-dependent businesses employing almost a quarter of the world’s population. In Ghana, about 25% of the populace depend on the ocean resources for livelihood and 60% of our animal protein intake is derived from fish. The ocean is s source of salt used in giving taste to all our foods.


Humans have failed in our duty as custodians of this great resource of our planet. Our activities are endangering the ocean, its biodiversity and ecosystem services. These human activities include illegal mining, illegal fishing, illegal dumping of untreated wastes, and chemical and plastic pollution These have led to the negative impacts on the health and ecological integrity of the oceans resulting in a decline, disruption of its functions and in many cases the loss of most life-sustaining services provided by the world’s oceans.


As a teaching and research Department in the University of Ghana, we have been organizing beach clean-up exercises, educational sessions in basic and secondary schools and coastal communities, and seminars to educate the general populace on the importance of oceans to livelihoods of man. We call all to join in this cause. Some of the things we can do include patronizing good fish, support sanitation infrastructure at beaches, avoid purchasing items that exploit marine life, avoid dumping waste around, and educate yourself and others about the importance of the oceans to man. We all owe our planet the responsibility of protecting its natural resources and ecosystems, including our Oceans. Next time you pass by the beach or a coastal community and you see anyone engaging in any of the activities listed above as threats, report them to the necessary Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Navy, NADMO, and Municipal and District Assemblies


Happy World Oceans Day!