By Mayuk Saha
Oceans are a valuable natural resource as it takes up 70 percent of the planet we live on. It makes our lives better by regulating the weather, cleaning the polluted air, providing food, and livelihood to a large population. However, the oceans are also the end point of all the mess we create on the land – the hazards range from dangerous carbon emissions to excess plastic to leaking oil to constant noise.
According to NRDC, “the majority of the garbage that enters the ocean each year is plastic—and it’s here to stay. That’s because unlike other trash, the single-use grocery bags, water bottles, drinking straws, and yogurt containers, among eight million metric tons of the plastic items we toss (instead of recycling), won’t biodegrade. Instead, they can persist in the environment for a millennium, polluting our beaches, entangling marine life, and getting ingested by fish and seabirds.
Where does all this debris originate? While some is dumped directly into the seas, an estimated 80 percent of marine litter makes its way there gradually from land-based sources―including those far inland―via storm drains, sewers, and other routes. (An excellent reason why we should all reduce plastic pollution, no matter where we live.) Oil from boats, airplanes, cars, trucks, and even lawn mowers is also swimming in ocean waters. Chemical discharges from factories, raw sewage overflow from water treatment systems, and stormwater and agricultural runoff add other forms of marine-poisoning pollutants to the toxic brew.”
Inaki Aizpun is a scuba diving instructor who has decided to be the change he wishes to see in the world. He saw a shark with a fishing net hanging from his mouth and immediately jumped to help. The condition of the animal was pretty dismal as it did not have much scope for recovery, yet Inaki chose to be brave and do as much as he could. He went near the shark and tried to catch the rope that was stuck, while making the animal aware that he was only trying to rescue it. Often, creatures misinterpret signs which result in them reacting in a negative way but it depends mostly on the rescuer’s attitude and technique. The shark was weak and possibly hadn’t eaten much in a long time so it eventually gave in. After a long struggle Inaki managed to pull the extremely long net out of the shark’s guts and freed it. Twenty years of diving, feeling connected with the ocean with all its marine life got a whole new meaning as the shark looked at him for a few moments, as if acknowledging the fact that he had somehow saved his life. It was then that Inaki understood how one can always do what one wishes to.
Inaki helps spreading awareness about the depleting condition of marine life because of our toxic waste. He urges people to be more careful when they go fishing so that nothing goes into the water, as it is small steps which create a major difference. We have only one planet, let us all pledge to keep it healthy.