07.06.2018 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

UNESCO message for the World Oceans Day: Clean Our Ocean

Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of on the occasion of World Oceans Day, Clean Our Ocean, 8 June 2018

The ocean is home to the majority of species living on our planet. It provides more than 60% of “ecosystem services” that allow us to live, starting with the production of most of our oxygen, and climate regulation: in the last half century, the ocean has absorbed 93% of the excess heat linked to the increase in the greenhouse effect.

The ocean is a prerequisite for the possibility of life on Earth. It is endangered, however, by the overexploitation of resources, pollution and increasing CO2 absorption. Global warming, acidification, dead zones, harmful algal blooms and ecosystem degradation are phenomena that reflect the impact of human activities on the ocean.

This year, the discovery in the Gulf of Oman of a new “dead zone” which is larger than Scotland and still growing, highlighted the phenomenon that occurs when marine life becomes asphyxiated in ocean areas with drastically low levels of oxygen. This plight comes on top of overfishing and pollution, particularly that caused by plastic waste, which is dumped into the ocean at the rate of one lorry load per minute, entering our food web. This has major implications for food security. Part of this waste is concentrated in ocean areas called gyres, caused by circulating ocean currents.

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