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We call Earth the 'Blue Planet' because the ocean covers about 71 per cent of it! Many people wear blue to celebrate World Oceans Day on 8 June every year. This is a special day to learn about oceans, why they are in danger and why it's so important to protect them.
What are the world's oceans?
The world has five oceans: the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific is the biggest – it's bigger than all the land in the world put together. The smallest, the Arctic Ocean, is frozen for a lot of the year. But scientists think that soon much of the ice will disappear because of climate change.
Why do we need oceans?
Without oceans, humans, animals and plants couldn't live. We don't know the exact number, but scientists think that oceans are home to 50–80 per cent of living things on Earth – from enormous whales to tiny fish. Oceans contain about 97 per cent of all the water on Earth. Thanks to the water cycle, oceans give us rainwater and drinking water. And did you know that at least half the oxygen we breathe comes from plants in the ocean? Oceans take in carbon dioxide and give us oxygen.
How do humans use the ocean?
A lot of the food we eat comes from the ocean, and millions of people around the world have jobs connected to fishing and fish farming. Much of our energy comes from the ocean – both oil and gas are found under the sea. Today we know that renewable energy is better for the environment and we can make electricity from waves and tides. Most of the goods that we use are transported on ships by sea, and boats are a way for people to travel. The coast is also a place for people to live and to have fun. Many people like to spend their free time and holidays at the beach!
How are we polluting our oceans?
There are billions and billions of pieces of plastic in our oceans. There are five enormous patches of plastic in the oceans around the world. One patch in particular, known as the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch', measures 1.6 million square kilometres – that's about seven times the size of the UK! Plastic in oceans is killing fish, birds, turtles and other sea creatures. It's also dangerous for our health, because fish eat the tiny pieces of plastic and then humans eat the fish.
What can we do to help our oceans?
There's lots that we can do, on World Oceans Day and on every day of the year! Whenever you're at the seaside, be kind and respectful to the environment by not harming any animals and taking all your rubbish home with you. You could take part in a beach clean-up and collect rubbish to make the beach a cleaner and safer place. If you don't live near the coast, you can still help. Why not ask your friends and classmates to help make posters to tell other people how important oceans are. Happy World Oceans Day!
What's your favourite thing about seas and oceans? Tell us about it!