World Economy
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Counting the Cost of Ocean’s $24 Trillion Blue Economy

Marine resources are being degraded by human activity throughout the world.Marine resources are being degraded by human activity throughout the world.
About 90% of coral reefs will disappear by 2050, the same year scientists have estimated there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish

The ocean is essential to the livelihoods and food security of billions of people around the globe. Shipping, tourism, transport, fisheries, oil and gas, renewable energy all depend on the sea.

Two years ago, economists put a dollar value on what oceans are worth and came up with $24 trillion. If it were a country, the sea would be the seventh-largest economy on the planet, Aljazeera reported.

“When you look at the blue economy, it has an asset value of $24 trillion and that’s delivering something between $400-500 billion each year in terms of the dividend to humanity,” says Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute.

“Marine resources are being degraded by human activity throughout the world—that comes down to things like pollution, plastics, degradation of coastal mangroves, climate change, etc.

“But even with the amount of degradation that’s going on, we’re still deriving great benefits. The real interesting issue is that if we can reverse the tide of degradation, then we should be able to build the $24 trillion asset. “

In Indonesia, 70% of the population lives along its coastline and depends upon the ocean. But Indonesia is also the second largest plastic waste producer after China.

Every year eight million tons of plastic goes into the ocean, the equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world.

About 90% of coral reefs will disappear by 2050, the same year scientists have estimated there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

The trend means taking $2.5 trillion out of the oceans through fishing and aquaculture, shipping and tourism annually.

Against this backdrop, the UN has decided to launch a global campaign declaring war on ocean plastic. It is urging governments to pass plastic-reduction policy with a view to ending marine litter.

The Blue Economy, or money generated from oceans and coastlines, is not the only thing that will be catastrophically affected if we continue to allow plastic to enter the ocean the way we are now, something that everyone is equally responsible for, according to Peter Thomson, the president of the UN General Assembly.

On a beach in Bali on Thursday morning, the United Nations Environment Program, together with the Indonesian government, announced a pledge to reduce plastic waste in Indonesia by 70% by the end of 2025. 

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