May 2017 – Month of the Ocean: Buhay Dagat, Buhay Natin!
May 3, 2017
The Philippines, situated in Southeast Asia, is an archipelago that consists of 7,641 islands surrounded by oceans and seas. Because of its strategic location, nature has gifted the Philippines the wealth of natural resources that harbors the highest number of marine biodiversity in the world, including the highest number of fish species and marine mammals according to Manila Times. No wonder, because of its majestic beauty and pristine waters, the Philippines was hailed as the “Pearl of the Orient Sea.”
On May 1999, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada declared May as the Month of the Ocean, through Presidential Proclamation No. 57, directed at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, carried through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The observance of the Month of the Ocean is in collaboration with different sectors of society conducting activities that highlight the conservation, protection and sustainable management of Philippine coastal and marine resources. This year’s theme is “Buhay Dagat, Buhay Natin!”
While there are millions of reasons why we should love, respect and protect our oceans, Filipinos are doing ridiculous and unimaginable things to exploit and harm its surrounding waters. Everyday, our seas and oceans are up against problems like water pollution, contamination of the natural habitats of marine wildlife, overfishing, dynamite and cyanide fishing, and the use of products that devastate the coral reefs. Up to this date, this remains to be a serious global issue.
Considering the vitality of the water and ocean in our lives, we must do everything in our will and power to protect and conserve our delicate marine environment, biodiversity and fisheries. Now is the time to end unsustainable water and ocean exploitation. According to National Geographic, below are the top 10 things we can do to help save the ocean from further damage:
- Mind Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Energy Consumption.
- Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices.
- Use Fewer Plastic Products.
- Help Take Care of the Beach.
- Don’t Purchase Items That Exploit Marine Life.
- Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner.
- Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean.
- Influence Change in Your Community.
- Travel the Ocean Responsibly.
- Educate yourself about Oceans and Marine Life.
Truly, we should always be reminded that when there is water, there is life. Let’s do our part to sustain a clean and pollution-free ocean because according to the great oceanographer, Sylvia Earle, “We hope for help to explore and protect the wild oceans in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us.”