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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

24 May 2017 - In the run up to the Ocean Conference in June, this blog series explores issues related to oceans, seas, marine resources and the implementation of SDG 14: Life below water.
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18 May 2017 - Presented at a two-day preparatory workshop ahead of The Ocean...
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15 May 2017 - A revolution in thinking is needed to protect this vital commons.

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On 11 May, Ocean Cleanup, a foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, announced a design breakthrough to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 5 years.

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24 Mar 2017 - The only vessel in the world to fly the UN flag, the Nansen will set sail to address climate change and work towards achieving SDG 14.

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11 May 2017 - The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch foundation aiming to rid the oceans of plastic waste says it will start cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within 12 months.

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Multisectorial consultation on the state of the oceans. This event brings together participants from various sectors:

Event Date:
10/05/2017 - 09:00
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Multisectorial consultation on the state of the oceans. This event brings together participants from various sectors:

Event Date:
12/05/2017 - 09:00
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11 May 2017 - The South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme is supporting countries to protect coastal and marine ecosystems and build regional resilience.

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As a participant in the national consultation held in Samaná, Salvador Alcalá tells us about the problems related to the oceans, seas and underwater life.

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In the national consultation of Samaná, Ileana González tells us about the situation that the community faces due to its relationship with the sea.

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Multi-sectoral consultation on the state of the ocean.

Event Date:
10/05/2017 - 09:00
Official