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. SDG 14.1 calls for the prevention and significant reduction of marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution, by 2025.

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

5 Nov 2019 - Greenpeace calls for global action over nets, lines and traps that are deadly for marine life.

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4 Nov 2019 - Because tires are made of natural rubber and plastic, it’s easy to miss just how much they contribute to pollution in our oceans.

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1 Nov 2019 - A combination of technology and social pressure drove us toward sanitary products shot through with plastic. Is there a better solution?

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28 Oct 2019 - Governments, businesses, organizations and research institutions made commitments toward improving marine health and productivity worth more than $63 billion.

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23 Oct 2019 - Scientists have developed a chemical technique which breaks down the bonds that make polyethylene so indestructible.

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14 Oct 2019 - For all the obvious benefits of plastic (and packaging more generally), the industry can no longer hide the fact that it’s polluting our planet.

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9 Oct 2019 - Philanthropic capital has a key role to play in paving the way towards sustainable waste management and recycling supply chains and creating investible solutions at scale.

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4 Oct 2019 - How can we prevent plastic polluting rivers and the ocean? Indian Prime Minister Modi has urged people to stop using single-use plastic country-wide.

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3 Oct 2019 - Floating boom finally retains debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, creator says.

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24 Sept 2019 - Coalition of six nations aims to raise funds and achieve full decarbonisation by 2050.

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12 Sept 2019 - The ocean’s health is in trouble. 

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11 Sept 2019 - Sarah Ferguson is creating awareness about plastic pollution one stroke at a time.

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