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Aishwarya Chavan
Content Writer @ Earth Root Foundation, Kolhapur, India
(Published on: 13 April, 2021 @03 PM)

Whales- We all are fascinated by these gigantic beautiful creatures; aren’t we? Whales can be found inhibiting all of the world’s major oceans, from the Arctic and the Antarctic oceans to the tropical waters in and around the equator’s region. They dive as deep as 2,000-2,500 meters deep in the belly of the ocean swimming and flaunting their magnificent huge bodies. Ah! What a scene! Apart from looking pretty, these mammals have proven themselves to be one of the best comrades in beating the global warming! However, over fishing, pollution, dam/bridge construction, private/commercial boating and commercial whaling have added these mammals to the list of ‘endangered species.’

 Did you know that 1 kg of CO2 is emitted by a human in one day? If we multiply this by the total world population, which is 7.9 billion, a total of 7.9 billion kgs of CO2 is emitted every single day! Mind you, this number is excluding all other CO2 emission sources such as automobiles, electronics, industries and deforestation; that too worldwide! As per the 2019 survey, a total of 43 billion metric tons of CO2 is emitted per year world-wide!

 A tree absorbs 22kg of CO2 in a year. Whereas, a single giant whale lives up to 200 years and is known to absorb almost 33 tons of CO2; that is almost 30,000 kilograms of CO2 throughout their lives. Now multiply this number by around 75,000 (yes, sadly only these many whales are alive as per the 2020 survey). That sums up to around

 2,475000000 (TWO BILLION FOUR-HUNDRED SEVENTY-FIVE) kgs of CO2 is absorbed by whales! When they die, they sink to the ocean floor and all the carbon that is stored in their enormous bodies is transferred from surface waters to the deep sea, where it remains for centuries or more.

 It doesn’t end here. There’s another interesting fact- whales, when after feeding in the deep ocean come to the surface to breathe and poo, their iron-rich feces create perfect growing conditions for ‘phytoplankton’. These tiny microscopic creatures play a megascopic role in planet’s atmosphere by capturing 40% of all CO2 produced; that is four times the amount captured by Amazon forest!

 These marine titans play an amazing role in the ecosystem that keeps every creature on Earth alive, including you! Whales play a vital role in the marine ecosystem where they help provide at least half of the oxygen you breathe, combat climate change, help cool our earth, maintain the food chain and sustain fish stocks.

Sadly, humans have killed whales for centuries, for meat, oil and whalebone. The CO2 captured by their enormous bodies are let out in the atmosphere leading to a rise in atmospheric temperature (we are already doing it; but a sad addition to the existing list). Moreover, a disruption in the marine ecosystem and the food chain have significantly risen. Nature has created her own way of maintaining the entire ecosystem; that we humans are disrupting.

 Not to forget the pain they suffer during fishing and killing. Ruthless and painful.



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