World Oceans Day is celebrated on 8 June, every year globally. The ocean is the house for marine populations such as various fishes, sharks, dolphins, starfish, octopus, and many such animals that live underwater.
World Oceans Day 2024 Significance
The concept of celebrating World Oceans Day was initially proposed by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada at the Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) in 1992. The United Nations officially recognized the celebration of World Oceans Day in 2008.
The World Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission, noted in the Brundtland Report in 1987 that there was a lack of a loud voice for the ocean sector compared to other sectors.
Therefore, the first focus of World Oceans Day was to shift attention to the ocean and coastal development from the sideline to the center stage worldwide. Between 2002 and 2008, through combined efforts by The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network, several events were organized as part of ocean awareness.
They also launched worldoceansday.org to help promote events and activities around ocean and coastal maintenance and development, with the purpose of getting more involved in activities that help shift the focus on ocean development from the sidelines to the center stage.
In 2004, The Ocean Project and The World Oceans Network filed a petition with the United Nations to recognize the 8th of June as Oceans Day. In December 2008, the UN General Assembly officially proclaimed that World Oceans Day be celebrated annually on the 8th of June.
Some essential developments post the declaration of International Oceans Day include:
- In 2010, there were over 300 events on World Oceans Day, with a 26% increase in participation over 2009.
- A record 45 countries participated in activities organized by The Ocean Project and World Oceans Network.
- The United Nations launched the Annual Amateur Oceanic Photo Competition on International Oceans Day in 2014
World Ocean Day 2024 Theme
The World Oceans Day 2022 theme is “Catalyzing Action for Our Ocean & Climate” Some of the previous year themes used by the United Nations for Ocean Day are listed below.
- “Our Ocean, Our Responsibilities”
- “Our Oceans, Opportunities and Challenges”
- “Our Oceans greening our future.”
- “United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea @30.”
- “Oceans and People”
- “Oceans Sustainability Together let us ensure oceans can sustain us into the future.”
- “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”
- “Our Oceans, Our Future”
- “Clean our Oceans”
- “Gender and Oceans”
Why Do We Celebrate World Ocean Day?
This day brings focus to the maintenance and development of the ocean and coastal areas. The ocean bed is home to a diverse marine population, hosting several activities that are unseen from above sea level. Volcanic eruptions, tremors, and enormous whirlpools that sometimes engulf large ships all occur beneath the ocean’s surface. The ocean maintains its ecosystem organically, supported by marine vegetation.
Unfortunately, human activities such as pollution from vacationing, scuba diving, and exploring marine life have taken a toll. Tonnes of plastic are dumped into the oceans, and harmful chemicals, byproducts of industrial processes, find their way into the water.
The significance of this day lies in celebrating the oceans, raising awareness about increasing pollution, taking measures to preserve underwater marine life, keeping beaches clean, and finding joy in the vast blue waters as far as the eye can see.
The purpose of World Oceans Day is to achieve and maintain ocean equilibrium. Let us support the initiatives taken by international bodies and work towards saving our oceans for a better future and the generations to come