Updated: February 3, 2021 7:30:21 pm
The world needs an ocean-literate society and it is upon scientists to demonstrate the uses of ocean resources to governments, in order to frame right policies towards developing sustainable oceans for the future. This was stated by Dr Vladimir Ryabinin, executive secretary at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission at UNESCO.
He was addressing the 23rd Foundation Day virtual event of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, titled ‘UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development’, on Wednesday.
“Our society is not ocean-literate and the fact that 50 per cent of the oxygen is generated by plankton growing in the oceans is not well known. Scientists need to demonstrate the value chain of ocean resources to governments and engage with all stakeholders,” said Dr Ryabanin.
The United Nations has declared 2021 – 2030 as the ‘Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development’. Accordingly, a number of projects and activities have been planned in the areas for curbing ocean pollution, developing technology for producing food from ocean resources, ocean-observing systems, mitigating ocean risks and studying ocean-climate change links.
Hailing India’s recently announced Deep Ocean Mission, which has received a budget allocation of over Rs 4,000 crore, Dr Ryabinin reminded the scientific community how little of fauna living in the deep Indian Ocean is known.
“The fauna in the deep Indian Ocean remains the most unknown. Neither do we know its role nor its contributions in any form,” the senior Russian oceanographer said while referring to the latest World Ocean Assessment report.
Even as the world is trying to get the right mix of ingredients for developing a vaccine to fight Covid-19, Dr Raybinin said ocean resources could potentially offer anti-bacteria, anti-cancerous, antiviral and anti-microbial elements, and need further scientific exploration.
He said, “There is a need for developing R&D strategies and ocean policies to study ocean resources for a sustainable future.”
Dr M Rajeevan, secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said INCOIS must assume a leadership role and work towards expanding the present group of oceanographers in India.
On the occasion of its foundation day, INCOIS hosted an online meet of the National Decade Co-Ordination Committee of India, which will collaborate with international communities in the UN decadal programme.
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