The importance of oceanic resources has created disputes regarding the control of oceans by various nations. Many nations claim their rights over sea waters located near their land. However, it is to be noticed that every country with a coastline has its own territorial waters and exclusive economic zone. The concept of the defence of oceans has acquired significance in the past few years. Oceans are extremely important to human life. Following are the importance of oceans:
Importance of Oceans
- Fish is an important source of food and nutrition for human life. It has been a vital part of the human diet since prehistoric times. Fishing has become a well-developed industry today and significantly contributes to the economy of many nations.
- Oceans provide food and other marine products to humans. Several kinds of edible oil are manufactured by humans from marine animals. Besides, food and oil, marine animals and plants also provide leather, glue, and cattle feed.
- Much research is on to extract essential oil and other products of marine life which can cure different diseases. Marine pharmacologists are researching the physical and chemical properties of marine organisms such as crab, sea cucumber, shark, and cod.
- Oceans provide us with a variety of mineral resources. Some of these are common salt, magnesium, bromide, sulphur, gold, platinum, tin, sand, and petroleum.
- The most important mineral resources obtained from the sea are petroleum and natural gas. Petroleum known as the ‘Black Gold’ is mainly found in the continental shelves and slopes. Bombay High is an important source of oil in India. Oceans also provide us with non-conventional sources of energy such as tidal energy—the energy generated from waves. The rise and fall of seawater are known as tides. Powerful tidal waves generate a large amount of force when they strike the shore. This energy is tapped and used to produce electricity.
- Many countries are researching the prospects of harnessing energy from the surface of ocean waters. Water at the surface of the sea in tropical regions may reach up to 30°C. Belgium and Cuba have designed floating generators that can be used for the production of electricity.
- Oceans have been used as a means of transport since ancient times. Water transport is one of the cheapest means of transport in the world.
- Oceans also regulate the temperature of the Earth. They cover about 71% of the Earth’s surface. They store the heat of the Sun and keep the Earth warm. This is because oceans absorb the heat of the Sun and release it after a long time. On the other hand, the land gets heated and releases the heat quickly. Had the land been greater than the water, it would have remained frozen for most time of the year.
- Oceans play an important role in the water cycle. About 97% of the total water available on the Earth is stored in oceans. Water evaporates from the oceans in the atmosphere. It then condenses and precipitates on the Earth in the form of rainfall, dew, and snow.
It is important to keep oceans free of any pollution. Spilling of oil from oil tankers, dumping of radioactive wastes from ships, and conducting nuclear explosions in the sea need to be checked to preserve the rich marine life.
Also, Read Movements of Ocean Waters