Is the world community becoming more conscious of environmental responsibilities?
On 27 October 2016, delegates from 24 countries and EU agreed to make Ross Sea, Antarctica the largest Marine Protected Area (MPA), an area of 1.5Million Sq Km. Ross Sea, a part of the Southern Ocean and considered one of the world’s most pristine marine eco-systems, will receive protection from commercial fishing for 35 years (2051). The proposal was passed at the Commission for Preservation of Antarctica Marine Living Resources (CPAMLR), at Hobart, Australia. Ross Sea is home to the Adelie Penguin, Antarctica Petrels, Minke Whales and the Krill – staple food of whales & penguins.
What is the Significance of the MPA?
The negotiation took six years, in making. In the past, Russia and China had opposed the establishment of the MPA, particularly the 35 years of protection. The negotiation in Hobart was passed with relative ease. Some experts suggest that after the historic Paris Accord on climate change, in December 2015, there is a new glasnost on world environmental issues. However, some countries expressed concern that declaring Ross Sea a MPA, will set a precedent for protection of other water bodies in the high seas, like the Arctic Sea.
Due to continuous emission of Greenhouse gases by human activities, the IPCC (Inter-government Panel on Climate Change) has predicted a 1 to 3oC rise global mean temperatures, over 1990. The already visible effects of climate change are shrinking of glaciers, loss of sea ice, rise of sea levels and more-intense heat waves. Potential future effects are more frequent wild fires, longer periods of drought, more tropical storms. In India, do we underestimate the effects of climate change? In 2009, by Supreme Court directions, Environmental Education has been formally introduced in the education system, in India.
Sources: BBC, Wikipedia