ISLAMABAD   -   Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mehmood Abbasi on Friday expressed firm resolve to ensure sustainable use of oceans and preserve marine resources with coordinated national efforts.

“Let us reaffirm our commitment and resolve for preserving sustainable use of oceans and marine resources, while making conscious efforts to empower women in various economic activities related to the oceans. Only together, we can protect Earth’s ultimate source of life,” he said in his message on the World Oceans Day to be observed on June 8 under the theme “Gender and the Oceans,” a Pakistan Navy press release said.

The day is celebrated to enlighten the world community regarding the impact of human actions on the oceans and to explore ways and means for their sustainable use and the marine resources derived from them.

Oceans, the Naval Chief said, was the primary source of sustenance of life on earth, which acted as lungs to the planet as “they provide most of the oxygen we breathe. They are also major absorbers of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide. Thus, human activity on land is directly affecting the oceans and the life that flourishes within.”

The theme selected for this year’s World Ocean Day, he said, offered an opportunity to explore the gender dimension of human relationship with the oceans. “While women constitute half of the workforce, they only comprise two percent of the seafarers’ workforce and 38 percent of the overall marine scientists. They earn only 64 percent of men’s wages and have less access to the decision-making positions.”

Admiral Zafar Mehmood Abbasi said the theme aimed to raise gender literacy and promote gender equality in ocean related activities such as marine scientific research, fisheries, labour at sea, as well as policy making.

“We acknowledge the challenges that are eroding the integrity of our waters - pollution, marine invasive species, extreme climatic changes and threats to survival of marine species. We also acknowledge the need for greater participation of women to address these challenges in a more sustainable manner.”

To commemorate significance of the World Oceans Day, he said, Pakistan Navy was playing a lead role in promoting safe and sustainable use of ocean resources. Some of the major PN initiatives include beach cleaning, construction of harbour debris collection barges, intensified Mangroves plantation, banning use of destructive fishing nets, tackling oil pollution at sea and coordination with industrial community to reduce waste dumping into the sea, he added.

The Naval Chief said another focal area being pursued by PN was the promotion of formal Maritime Education, especially for the women. Bahria University, under the PN auspices has commenced graduate and masters programmes for both male as well as female students.

In his message on World Environment Day observed on June 5 under the theme “Air Pollution”, the Naval Chief said “Our conduct in all walks of life should be in line with the principles for conservation of environment,” he emphasized, reiterating the PN would continue to play its due role for this noble cause, a press release said Friday.

The day is marked to highlight significance of clean air and create awareness about healthy and green environment.