People around the globe celebrated World Oceans Day on June 8thand the United States along with other countries have designated June as National Ocean Month. World Oceans Day is held annually to draw attention to the vital role our oceans play in sustaining a healthy planet. During the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the Canadian Government proposed the idea which was then officially recognized by the UN General Assembly in 2008. The Ocean Project, a non-profit international foundation, coordinates the day each year.
According to NOAA’s National Ocean Service, there is only one global ocean. Covering 71% of the Earth, this vast body of water has historically been divided into four basins (the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic) however, most countries now recognize a fifth basin – the Southern (Antarctic) basin as well.
Our World Ocean provides immeasurable benefits to the Earth and all its inhabitants. From producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide to whale watching and sailing, the need to keep our ocean healthy is of utmost importance. The ocean helps regulate our climate and provides us with seafood and medicinal products. Economically, many nations rely on the ocean for transportation and marine-dependent businesses.
So, if you’re taking a trip to the beach this summer, how can you be a good steward of our public waters and honor World Oceans Day? The US Department of the Interior recommends the following:
- After a visit to the beach, collect your belongings and dispose of trash and recycling properly;
- Do not release balloons;
- Clean up your pet’s waste to prevent harmful bacteria;
- Dispose of fishing line;
- Volunteer for a beach cleanup day.