• Did you know that the Oceans have it all ?

    Ramesh Tiwari
    April 22, 2017
    Did you know that the Oceans have it all ?

    By Baher Kamal

    ROME, (IPS ) :  Perhaps you are not aware enough of the fact the oceans have it all! What is “all”? Well, oceans have from microscopic life to the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth, from the colourless to the shimmering, from the frozen to the boiling and from the sunlit to the mysterious dark of the deepest parts of the planet. Who says that?

    It is the United Nations, which by the way reminds that oceans are an essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem –a source of biodiversity, food, and life. Just think that over 40 per cent of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometres of the coast.

    Thus, a better management of the ocean resources is “crucial to ensuring global food security, says the UN leading organisation in the key field of food and agriculture.

    No Oceans, No Life!

    Simply “without them, life could not exist,” assures the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

    Although the list is almost endless, the specialised agency reminds of seven facts, just to start off with:

    1. Fisheries and aquaculture currently employ directly 56 million people. And many more are employed in follow-up activities, such as handling, processing and distribution. Altogether, fishing and fish farming support the livelihoods and families of some 660 to 880 million people, that’s 12 per cent of the world’s population.

    “Without oceans, life could not exist”

    2. Oceans host 80 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity, and are the largest ecosystem on Earth. Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide about 30 per cent of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide about 50 per cent of aquaculture production.

    3. Oceans provide vital renewable energy. Devices are being developed to generate electricity from waves and tides, as well as offshore wind farms.

    4. Oceans regulate our climate. Did you know that the oceans absorb a quarter of all the carbon dioxide that humans put into the atmosphere? This makes them a ‘carbon sink’, but its ability to absorb even more carbon is limited.

    Over 90 per cent of the additional heat caused by global warming is stored in the Oceans. Without this service, and the heating and cooling effects of ocean currents, world temperatures would be too unstable to support life.

    5. Oceans affect our weather. As they are heated by the sun’s rays, water from its surface evaporates and then condenses to form clouds as part of the water cycle. This is how we get our rain and therefore our drinking water. It also contributes to wind, thunderstorms and hurricanes, and helps produce the monsoon rains that millions of people in South Asia rely on.

    6. Scientists have discovered that many marine invertebrates produce antibiotic, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory substances. Horseshoe crabs, seaweeds and marine bacteria have also been found to have useful medical properties.

    7. Oceans influence our health and well-being. Water is known to calm and reduce anxiety in people and being near blue spaces, such as the ocean, is thought to have positive effects on our mental health.

    Unfortunately, different human activities are putting our oceans under threat, FAO regrets, while adding some more facts, such as that overfishing is reducing fish populations, threatening the supply of nutritious food and changing marine food webs.

    Overfishing or How to Deplete the Oceans

    In fact, the FAO estimates that, globally, some 91-93 million tonnes of fish are captured each year, and seafood products are among the world’s most widely traded food commodities, with an export value of 142 billion dollars in 2016.

    On top of that, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is estimated to strip as much as 26 million additional tonnes of fish from the oceans annually, damaging marine ecosystems and sabotaging efforts to sustainably manage fisheries.

    Also that around 80 per cent of the pollution in the oceans comes from land, and coastal zones are especially vulnerable to pollutants, FAO informs.

    Let alone plastics, which are also particularly problematic with enormous floating rubbish patches forming in the oceans.

    Add to the above, climate change and its related impacts, such as ocean acidification, are affecting the survival of some marine species.

    And the fact that coastal development is destroying and degrading important coastal marine ecosystems such as coral reef, sea grass meadows and mangroves.

    The issue is so essential–and urgent that world leaders, scientists, experts, and civil society organisations, are now getting ready to participate in The Ocean Conference, which will run from 5 to 9 June.

     A World Ocean Festival

    As a way to heat up for that major event, the UN on April 11 announced that an inaugural World Ocean Festival will kick off the week-long event, with activists and enthusiasts taking to the streets – and waterways – of New York City to raise their voices to reverse the declining health of our oceans.

    Penny Abeywardena, the Commissioner of the (New York City) Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, joined Peter Thompson, President of the UN General Assembly, to announce the first-ever Festival which will be held on 4 June, the day before the opening of The Ocean Conference, which will run from 5 to 9 June.

    Sweden has been a major supporter of acting to save the oceans, commented through its deputy prime minister and climate minister of Sweden, Isabella Lövin, that the Ocean Conference could be a “chance of a lifetime” to save the oceans under enormous stress.

    Most likely reflecting the general feeling of most scientists, environmentalists and civil society organisations, Lövin said “We don’t need to invent or negotiate something new, we just need to have action to implement what we already agreed upon.”

    The facts are there, so is the solution. Will world’s political leaders listen… and act?

    April 2017

    • Connecting you with the world of travel and tourism

      What they say

      Tourism is a people’s sector. One in 10 people in the world are directly or indirectly employed by tourism. Ours is the responsibility to ensure that tourism benefits each and every community, leaving no one behind.
      Tourism’s sustained growth brings immense opportunities for economic welfare and development. Yet, it also brings in many challenges. Adapting our sector to the challenges of safety and security, to constant market changes, to digitalization and the limits of our natural resources should be priorities in our common action.
      As we move towards a future guided by the universal 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I take upon me to lead UNWTO with a strong focus on building partnerships with public and private sector, fostering jobs and opportunities for all, mastering technology and innovation and advancing sustainability and the fight against climate change.
      I trust that, together with our Member States and our partners from around the world, we can build a more competitive and responsible tourism sector for the benefit of all. I wish you a very happy 2018.
      Zurab Pololikashvili
      UNWTO Secretary-General

      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

      Wildlife in Chitawan , Nepal

      Window of Nepal Tourism

      http://www.nepaltournews.com/