Whales : The overlooked Carbon capturing giant

UNEP

Jan 13, 2022

Whales, the largest and most intelligent giant of the ocean, these creatures capture tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, read on to find out how

Whales, the largest and most intelligent creature of the ocean, have surprised marine biologists with a new discovery. These mighty creatures capture tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, a service with an economic value of US$1 trillion for all the great whales, according to a study published by the International Monetary Fund. Whales accumulate carbon in their bodies for their lifetime, where some live upto 200 years.


When they die they sink to the ocean floor with that carbon in them. According to study,a great whale sequesters around 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide on average in comparison to a tree that only can remove 3% of the absorption of a single whale. And where there are whales, there are phytoplanktons too. A whale’s feces contains iron and nitrogen, the elements that these phytoplanktons need to thrive on. These tiny microscopic marine algae contribute to at least 50% of the oxygen in our atmosphere.


These algae also capture 37 million tons of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to four Amazon forests. But these whales themselves are in danger due to the mass killing of whales since the 19th century. Commercial whaling, noises and accidents from busy shipping lanes, seismic surveys, chemical pollution, and introduction of marine renewable energy technologies in combination leave an impact on the declining numbers of these marine creatures.The whale population today is a scintilla of what they once were. As per biologists estimate slightly more than 1.3 million whales are now in the ocean compared to 4 to 5 millions previously. Some species like the blue whales are only 3% remaining from what they used to be. Taking immediate action to these amazing creatures is so essential as they play a vital role in balancing our delicate ecosystem and reducing carbon dioxide.


These findings are a call to action - we cannot survive without our marine counterparts. We at Enposs pledge to do our part in reducing emissions using FORCE, will you join us?