As the photographer of this young yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) said, small marine creatures as well as large ones are fascinating and worth protecting. The fish was in a rocky crevice in the Tweed River, New South Wales, Australia. Photo: winner in the Youth Category of World Oceans Day Photo Competition/Jack McKee.
“Everyone needs to play a part. You can make a difference today – and every day — by doing simple things like carrying your own water bottle, coffee cup and shopping bags, recycling the plastic you buy, avoiding products that contain microplastics and volunteering for a local clean-up.”
— António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Why celebrate World Oceans Day?
We celebrate World Oceans Day to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere. In the end, it is a day to celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.
Action focus for 2018: preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean
Plastic pollution is causing tremendous harm to our marine resources. For example:
- 80% of all pollution in the ocean comes from people on land.
- 8 million tonnes of plastic per year ends up in the ocean, wreaking havoc on wildlife, fisheries and tourism.
- Plastic pollution costs the lives of 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year.
- Fish eat plastic, and we eat the fish.
- Plastic causes $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year.
Change starts with you
There are many things we can do as individuals to reduce our plastic consumption. Remember: Use less plastic and recycle the plastic you must use. Use these hashtags in social media to spread the word to help clean up our ocean: #WorldOceansDay, #SaveOurOcean.
As in previous years since 2014, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea is recognizing on 8 June the winners of the Annual World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition in an event at United Nations Headquarters.
Oceans and the Sustainable Development Goals
The Declaration of World Oceans Day in 2008 catalysed action worldwide. Twenty-five years after the first Oceans Day took place in Rio de Janeiro at UNCED, a special event on June 8th marked its celebration during the United Nations Ocean Conference held from 5-9 June 2017. The Ocean Conference was convened to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.