US Secretary of State John Kerry today warned that a global political will was needed to address this "urgent peril" otherwise the effects across the planet will be profound. AP File Photo
WASHINGTON: Underlining that oceans of the world were at risk, US Secretary of State John Kerry today warned that a global political will was needed to address this "urgent peril" otherwise the effects across the planet will be profound.
"The ocean covers almost three quarters of our planet and sustains life on Earth as we know it. But our ocean is at grave risk today -- and we know the reason why," Kerry said in an op-ed to the Huffington Post.
Human activity threatens the world's ocean, he said, adding that the often illegal international fishing practices are decimating fisheries.
"A garbage patch twice the size of Texas floats in thePacific Ocean, evidence of the trash we cast into our waterways. Rising carbon dioxide levels from emissions increase ocean acidity, endangering coral reefs and other marine life," he said.
Kerry warned that unless these trends are reversed, the effects across the planet will be profound.
"The damage will be felt whether you live on a coastlineor hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean's edge. The ocean produces half the world's oxygen, creates the clouds that bring fresh water and regulates our climate. More than a billion people eat fish for their primary source of protein," he said.
Fishing is a USD 500 billion global industry and one in six jobs is marine-related in the United States, Kerry noted.
"The good news is that we know what is behind the degradation of the ocean. We know the steps required to counter the dangers and restore the health of our ocean for this generation and those to come. We know the science to change the future for the ocean," Kerry said.
"What we also know is that the global political will to address this urgent peril has yet to be summoned. We must change the equation. The plight of the ocean compels us to fight complacency and build consensus for action," he said.
The United States, Karry said, is organising first ocean conference on June 16 and 17, which would be attended by government leaders from around the world -- heads of state and foreign ministers, in addition to scientists, environmentalists and business leaders to discuss the threat to the ocean and the steps that should be taken to reverse the damage and restore the balance.
"We intend to create a global movement to protect the ocean and its resources. We will debate real solutions and come up with concrete plans for implementing them. We also have sent out a call to action that lays out the crucial steps all of us can take to ensure that a healthy ocean allows us to continue to enjoy its bounty," Kerry said.
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