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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

19 Jan 2018 - Erik Solheim cites ‘huge decline’ in world’s reefs but says shift from coal and new awareness of plastic pollution are good news.

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18 Jan 2018 - A new program Ocean Solutions Accelerator aims to help advance startups in tech and conservation relating to the big blue. 

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17 Jan 2018 - A new model predicts that as ocean temperatures rise, carbon-storing sea grass may disappear and even go extinct in some ecosystems.

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15 Jan 2018 - A study published in Science last week reveals that severe bleaching of coral reefs is occurring twice as frequently compared to what it was in 1980.

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12 Jan 2018 - Australia: 11 900 plastic bottles. That's how many the Seabin can 'catch' per year.​

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11 Jan 2018 - People around the world strongly support ocean conservation measures, according to a new study of public perceptions of marine threats and protection.

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10 Jan 2018 - As temperatures rise, oxygen levels in the ocean are falling, threatening marine life and coastal economies. But the only solution to deoxygenation is to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and it may already be too late.

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9 January 2018 - The World Ocean Council is kicking off 2018 by partnering with the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI) to focus attention on ocean, coasts and islands at the annual SWFI Institutional Investor Forum (Santa Monica, California, 20-22 February).

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1 Dec 2017 - Sparkles are fun, but these tiny bits of plastic escape into waterways.

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21 Nov 2017 - It’s no secret that disposable plastics are strangling the ocean.

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15 Nov 2017 - Some 300 million tonnes of plastic litter the oceans, much of it on the surface, but now even the deepest trenches are affected.

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Legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle shares astonishing images of the ocean -- and shocking stats about its rapid decline -- as she makes her TED Prize wish: that we will join her in protecting

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