Scientists to Step up Research on Ocean & Marine Energy
“Oceans are of vital importance for the wealth and the well-being of present and future generations” said M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, interacting with the Scientists of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), in Dona Paula, Goa on 24 March 2019 and called for fully tapping the enormous potential of the Blue Economy for the country to achieve higher economic growth. Enhancing more than 80% of global trade, marine and coastal environments constitute a key resource for economic development.
Oceans cover 72% of the surface of our blue planet and provide humankind with food, minerals, energy, fresh water and oxygen. Oceans hold 97% of the planet’s water, while 2% is found in glaciers and ice caps and only 1% comprises earth’s fresh water. They regulate climate, emission absorption and shoreline protection and support livelihoods as well as job creation. Indeed, oceans are our life support system.
- Blue Economy’s objective is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities through maritime economic activities.
- NIO should act as a nodal center for Blue Economy related research and technology development.
- India was meeting most of its oil and gas requirements through imports.
- Scientists should step up their research in areas such as ocean energy and marine energy.
- Scientists should study the potential of renewable energy derived from the ocean– from wind, wave and tidal sources.
- For sustainable harnessing of ocean resources, appropriate programmes should be initiated.
- Currently, it is estimated that more than three billion people depend on marine and coastal resources for their livelihoods.
- There was a need to focus on ocean centric technology to harness marine resources for sustained growth of India
- NIO should also undertake research on the development of drugs from the sea.
- Development of technologies for deep-sea mining, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics for extraction of minerals should be initiated.
- The focused approach in some of the areas such as minerals from the ocean, energy from the ocean can make India a global leader and serve our national goals.
- However, while pursuing the “blue growth”, every effort must be made by all the stakeholders, including private and public sectors, to prevent further degradation of the ocean and its ecosystems.
- In view of global warming, resource degradation, and marine pollution, we have to conserve and sustain our oceans as time is running out.
- CSIR-NIO to play a major role through its ocean observation studies in understanding different ocean processes due to climate change.
United Nations has taken steps to declare the period 2021–2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, considering the importance of oceans on the life and sustenance of humanity. Further, the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG-14) proposed by the UN, which deals with life below the waters, emphasizes the importance of oceans in modulating and sustaining life.