(GIST OF YOJANA) Safeguarding Oceans
- The oceans are the most significant source of our present and future energy requirements.
- About two-thirds of our Earth’s surface is covered by water, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of the entire earth’s water.
- There is about 70 percent water in the protoplasm of millions of cells, the basic biological unit of plants and human beings.
Diversity in oceans:
- Different organisms are found in different ocean depths, providing a colourful spectrum to marine life and its ecosystem. According to scientific studies, so far, about 2.5 lakh marine life species have been identified all over the world.
- Evidence of diversity is also found in their size. They range from 0.2 micrometres of small sea creatures to about 110 feet long blue whales found in the sea.
- Sunlight permeates about 200 metres below the sea surface called the sunlight or Epipelagic Zone.
- From 200 metres to 1000 metres, the faint light of the sun percolates, hence it is called the twilight zone or Mesopelagic Zone.
- The depth from 1000 metres to 4000 metres is called the midnight or Bathypelagic Zone.
- Due to the absence of light, creatures in this zone use bioluminescence.
- The water pressure in this zone is very high.
- The sea creatures here are primarily black or red in the absence of light.
- The average temperature remains below 4 degrees celsius in this region.
- The Abyssal Zone with a depth of 4000 to 6000 metres is very dark and the temperature is almost freezing point.
Innovative Scientific Research Initiatives:
- Research on ocean organisms, minerals and other natural resources is being carried out by Indian scientists to deal with the effects of environmental pollution, anthropogenic interference and climate change on the ocean. A few examples of such efforts are mentioned below.
RV Sindhu Sadhana Scientific Research:
- By the National Institute of Oceanography, headquartered in Goa which focused on the Indian Ocean.
- The expedition team conducted a scientific analysis of proteins and genes in marine organisms to understand the process occurring at the cellular level.
- Proteins act as markers and catalysts in biochemical reactions which occur in organisms that survive in different ocean conditions.
- The branch of biology that deals with protein studies is called Proteomics.This helps in understanding the impact of climate change, pollution and stress on organisms.
- Expeditions also studied the impact of trace metals such as manganese, cobalt, iron and nickel on marine organisms.
- These trace metals present in small amounts of animal/plant tissue act as catalysts in enzyme systems and energy metabolism.
- They settle in oceans through continental water flow and atmospheric and hydrothermal activities.
Deep Ocean Mission:
- The Deep Ocean Mission was launched with the aim to explore the marine diversity in our country, which is still unexplored.
- This project is managed by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
- Through this mission, the Government aims to conduct the exploration of the underwater world on similar lines as ISRO does for space.
- It is India’s first unique manned ocean mission that aims to send men into the deep sea in a submersible vehicle for deep-ocean exploration and mining of rare minerals.
- It will send three persons in a manned submersible vehicle MATSYA 6000 to a depth of 6000 metres into the sea for deep underwater studies.
- It is a part of the Deep Ocean Mission.
- With this Mission, India joined the elite club of nations such as the US, Russia, France, Japan, and China to have niche technology and vehicles to carry out subsea activities.
Increasing human population, tourism, the release of industrial chemicals and fertilisers into the sea and other physical interventions in the coastal areas are creating dead zones in the oceans. It is essential to curb these activities to save the oceans and their ecosystems as oceans will be the primary custodians of human existence in the future.