Ocean Action Hub

Land-based sources (such as agricultural run-off, discharge of nutrients and pesticides and untreated sewage including plastics) account for approximately 80% of marine pollution, globally. Marine habitats worldwide are contaminated with man-made debris. Oil spills remain a concern, though actual spills have decreased steadily for several decades.

Excessive nutrients from sewage outfalls and agricultural runoff have contributed to the increasing incidence of low oxygen (hypoxic) areas known as dead zones, where most marine life cannot survive, resulting in the collapse of some ecosystems. There are now close to 500 dead zones with a total global surface area of over 245,000 km², roughly equivalent to that of the United Kingdom. The excess nitrogen can also stimulate the proliferation of seaweeds and microorganisms and cause algal blooms. Such blooms can be harmful (HABs), causing massive fish kills, contaminating seafood with toxins and altering ecosystems.

Litter can accumulate in huge floating garbage patches or wash up on the coasts. Light, resistant plastics float in the Ocean, releasing contaminants as they break down into micro-particles that animals mistake for food. Fish and birds can choke on these particles, get sick as they accumulate toxins in their stomachs, or become entangled in larger debris.

As the world saw in 2010, the Gulf of Mexico deep-water oil spill had a devastating effect on the entire marine ecosystem, as well as the populations that depend on the marine areas for their livelihoods. Smaller oil spills happen every day, due to drilling incidents or leaking motors, negatively impacting birds, marine mammals, algae, fish and shellfish.

SOURCE: UNESCO website

Latest

24 Mar 2017 - [Blog] The oceans sustain creatures we haven’t even discovered, but they also keep terrestrial life going.

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23 Mar 2017 - Balloon releases should be banned because they can entangle and choke wildlife to death, the Marine Conservation Society has said.

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22 Mar 2017 - More than 80 per cent of marine pollution comes from land-based activities.

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22 Mar 2017 – Over a year ago, on 20 February 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston made a category 5 landfall along the north coa

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21 Mar 2017 - Increased public awareness may herald a success for Kenya's latest ban on plastic bags that has seen abortive attempts in the past

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Sylvia Earle - Fifty years into the future, it will be too late to do what is possible right now. Women and men must all work together to explore and care for the ocean

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By 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in our oceans.

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6 Mar 2017 - Overall consumption of nutrients and plastics can be minimized via efficiency improvements, and systems and incentives put in place that promote their recovery, reuse and recycling.

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3 Mar 2017 - Norton Point is manufacturing sunglasses made from the huge amounts of plastic cleaned up from ocean coastlines, reinvesting profits in research, education and development efforts that help reduce the impact of ocean plastic.

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2 Mar 2017 - Only China dumps more plastic in the ocean than Indonesia. But by 2025, the world’s largest archipelago aims to reduce marine waste by 70%.

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2 Mar 2017 - Recycling plastic represents as much as $120 billion in annual revenues; some tech companies are trying to seize that opportunity.

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This first Ocean Literacy Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) aims to empower and...
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