Pointing out that oceans hold 97 per cent of the planet’s water, while two per cent is found in glaciers and ice caps and only one per cent comprises earth’s fresh water, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said that they are vital for the wealth and well-being of present as well as future generations.
Addressing the gathering after interacting with scientists of CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography and witnessing a short presentation of scientists from different groups on Ocean and Climate Change, Biogeochemistry, Biological Oceanography, Marine Resources from Ocean, Marine Archaeology and Marine Instrumentation at National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula on Sunday, Naidu said, “We are aware of the fact that oceans produce more than 50 per cent of the world’s oxygen and absorb 40 per cent of the carbon dioxide, buffering the impact of global warming, which underlines the crucial role played by them. Thus, they help in regulating global climate. Oceans cover 72 per cent of the surface of our blue planet and provide humankind with food, minerals, energy, fresh water and oxygen. They regulate climate, emission absorption and shoreline protection and support livelihoods as well as job creation. Indeed, oceans are our life support system.”
The Vice President further said, “Currently, it is estimated that more than three billion people depend on marine and coastal resources for their livelihoods. Enhancing more than 80 per cent of global trade, marine and coastal environments constitute a key resource for economic development. Considering the importance of oceans in the life and sustenance of humanity, the United Nations has taken steps to declare 2021-2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.”
“With this background, it is important to prioritise our efforts in ocean science and technology to achieve the national goal of transforming India to be the third largest economy in the coming 10-15 years,” the Vice-President added.
He said that he is glad that two dedicated ocean-going vessels RV Sindhu Sankalp and RV Sindhu Sadhana are managed by CSIR-NIO.
“With these two dedicated vessels, I am sure that CSIR-NIO will be able to carry out all the relevant studies in India’s exclusive economic zone, which constitutes 2/3rd of our land area.”
With India looking towards oceans for economic growth through the Blue Economy, important institutions like NIO will have to step up their research in areas such as ocean energy and marine energy. It should be noted that India is meeting most of its oil and gas requirements through imports. Scientists should study the potential of renewable energy derived from the ocean– from wind, wave and tidal sources.
“India should fully tap the enormous potential of Blue Economy to achieve higher economic growth trajectory and initiate appropriate programmes for sustainable harnessing of ocean resources, research and develop relevant sectors of oceanography. However, while pursuing the “blue growth”, every effort must be made by all the stakeholders, including private and public sectors, to prevent further degradation of the ocean and its ecosystems,” he said.
In view of global warming, resource degradation, and marine pollution, Naidu said, “We have to conserve and sustain our oceans as time is running out. Hence, CSIR-NIO should play a major role through dense ocean observations and high-resolution ocean models over the Indian Ocean to meet the challenges in understanding different ocean processes due to climate change.”
The Vice-President said that he strongly felt that focused approach in some of the areas such as minerals from the ocean, energy from ocean can make India a global leader and serve our national goals.
After witnessing short presentation of scientists from different groups the Vice-President visited foyers such as Marine Aquarium, Seahorse, Marine Instrumentation, Marine Minerals and Archaeology at NIO, Dona Paula.
Earlier, on his arrival at NIO, the Vice-President of India was received by professor Sunil K Singh, director of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, National Institute of Oceanography, Secretary for Protocol W V R Murthy and