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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

11 May 2018 - World Ocean's Day, the annual global event aimed at tackling some of the biggest threats facing our oceans, will take place on June 8, 2018.

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10 May 2018 - I love working for islands, and not just because of their nature, people and weather. Islands are the canaries in the coal mine for how we treat our planet.

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10 May 2018 - The hatchlings swallow plastic, perhaps mistaking it for food, and can’t pass it because their bodies are too tiny.
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9 May 2018 - Innovators are taking marine trash and turning it into treasure.

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7 May 2018 - The current state of Trinidad and Tobago’s waste management and disposal system is receiving immediate and in-depth attention to ensure that the detrimental impact on human health and the environment from waste is mitigated.

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4 May 2018 - Hawaii has become the first US state to pass a bill banning the sale of any sunscreens that have chemicals known to harm coral reefs.

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1 May 2018 - The idyllic islands in Italy are banning single-use plastic and imposing hefty punishments on rule-breakers.

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30 Apr 2018 - UK-based retailer Waitrose has pledged £1 million to fight marine plastic pollution.

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27 Apr 2018 - Learn more about the serious problem of plastic in the ocean with this infographic.
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Gael, a 10-year old surfer from #Rio, is collecting litter from the beaches to help #SaveOurOcean.

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Humans produce more than 300 million tonnes of plastic per year, and much of this plastic waste ends up in the ocean. The consequences?

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25 Apr 2018 - A new study has found that harmful bacteria can quickly grow on plastic bags in the ocean in as little as 40 days.

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