Words By: Alison Killen
Bet you didn’t know its World Ocean Day today! As one of the United Nation’s official International Days, the theme of World Ocean Day for 2015 is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”. The UN recognises the world’s oceans as “the heart of our planet”. But right now, they and their inhabitants face multiple threats like human over exploitation and unregulated fishing, pollution, climate change, and ocean acidification.
So we thought we’d take some time to remind you how awesome (and weird) the oceans are. Check it out:
- The oceans cover 71% (and rising) of the Earth’s surface and contain 97% of the Earth’s water. Less than 1% is fresh water, and 2-3% is contained in glaciers and ice caps (and is decreasing).
- Half of all the oxygen we breathe is produced in the ocean.
- Oceans hold around 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere.
- There is a huge ‘garbage patch’ (actually more like a plastic soup) at the center of all the world’s large rotating Ocean currents (or Gyres): in the South Pacific, the North and South Atlantic and in the Indian Ocean. Plastic takes a long time to biodegrade in the ocean, eventually becoming smaller and smaller until they’re smaller than a grain of sand. These fine particles are now thought to act like sponges, concentrating pollutants, and they’re really hard to clean up. But we’re working on it!
- The lowest known point on Earth, called the Challenger Deep, is 11,034 m deep, in the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific. You could chuck Mt Everest down there at the bottom of the trench, and there would still be over a mile of ocean above it.
- We have only explored less than 5 percent of the Earth’s oceans. In fact, we have better maps of Mars than we do of the ocean floor.
- 94 percent of life on Earth is aquatic.
Find tips from national geographic here on how you can help the world’s oceans.
Read more about World Ocean Day here:
Check out more cool UN international Days here:
Happy World Ocean Day!