June 8 is celebrated as World Oceans Day by raising global awareness about the benefits mankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty in using its resources sustainably.
On the occasion of World Oceans Day, let us look at some interesting facts about the Bay of Bengal, which is the north-eastern part of the Indian Ocean and Odisha’s 485 kilometre long coast line.
1) The Bay of Bengal is the largest bay in the world occupying an area of 1,72,000 square kilometres; 1600 km wide and 2600 metres deep, its highest depth is at 4694 metres.
2) The Bay of Bengal is called “Mahodadhi” in Sanskrit and was referred to as “Kalinga Sagar” in pre-British era.
3) The Ganges and its distributaries Padma and Hooghly, the Brahmaputra and distributaries and rivers of Odisha like Mahanadi, Baitarani, Subarnarekha, Brahmani flow into the Bay of Bengal.
4) Some of the largest ports in the world i.e. Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Pondicherry, Kakinada and Paradip are situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal; Paradip is a major port of Odisha.
5) The Samudra arati is a daily tradition started by the Sankaracharya of Puri 9 years ago to honour the sacred sea; the stretch of Bay of Bengal in the Swargadwar (Gateway to heaven in Sanskrit) is considered holy by Hindus.
6) The endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and Olive Ridley turtles find their habitats on the coast and waters of the Bay of Bengal; Odisha is the only place which observes mass nesting of the Olive Ridley turtles and the largest population of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world is found in Chilika lake, India’s largest brackish water lake.
7) Gopalpur, Puri, Konark and Chandipur are prominent beaches in Odisha on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
8) The Jagannath Temple at Puri and the Sun Temple at Konark are two sites of historical importance on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Odisha.
9) Nearly 31% of the world’s fishermen population derive their livelihood from the Bay of Bengal, out of this more than 6 lakhs fishermen work off the coast of Odisha alone.
10) Coastal regions of the Bay of Bengal have rich deposits of ores and minerals.
World Oceans Day has been observed since 2008; the day is marked by launching awareness campaigns and beach cleanups, art contests, film festivals, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations and sustainable seafood events.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”.