As the world mark’s World Oceans Day, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has expressed worry about the human activities that adversely impact Ghana’s marine and coastal resources.
Such activities include indiscriminate disposal of waste, particularly plastics and organic waste on beaches, indiscriminate sand winning and over fishing.
He has, therefore, called on citizens to collectively take the responsibility to reduce land based sources of waste that enter the oceans.
“We must be reminded that the oceans are the lungs of our planet; without the ocean there will be no life,” he said in a message to mark the Day.
He indicated that by working together, “we can and will protect and restore our shared oceans”.
The United Nations General Assembly designated June 8, each year as “World Oceans Day” (WOD), to raise global awareness of the vital importance of oceans and the role they play in sustaining a healthy planet.
The global theme for the 2020 celebration of the Day is: “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”.
However, in Ghana, the Day is being observed under the theme, “Sustainable Oceans, our Survival”.
Prof Frimpong- Boateng said the theme underlined the need to adopt novel solutions to address the ever-growing challenges to the oceans.
He said the theme was especially relevant ahead of the celebration of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, scheduled from 2021 to 2030 with the view to strengthening international cooperation to develop scientific research and innovative technologies that could connect ocean science with the needs of society.
The theme, he explained, also reminds us of the global endowment of the oceans in terms of food, energy, tourism, trade, maritime transport, oil and gas and recreation and international trade.
Oceans absorb about 30 per cent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, reducing the impacts of global warming.
The Environment Minister explained that it was the sea that regulates the climate and soaks up the heat.
It also transports warm water from the equator to the poles, and cold water from the poles to the tropics.
Therefore, Ghana, as a coastal State, needed to find innovative ways of utilizing its ocean resources without compromising the marine and coastal ecosystems that supports life on earth.
World Oceans Day is celebrated to educate people about the importance of oceans and the importance of protecting waterways, watersheds and ocean waters and habitat and to encourage citizens of the world to take action to preserve and protect the oceans as oceans generate 80 per cent of the world’s oxygen.
The Day offers an opportunity to global leaders and all people to act together to protect and conserve the oceans.
This year’s celebration would focus on innovations that have the potential to address the challenges of the oceans.
Experts would also use the opportunity to explore innovations across various fields, including technology, systems infrastructure, resource management, consumer products, finance and scientific exploration, to help protect the oceans.