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

13 Mar 2018 - Further improvements in data-gathering technology could improve forecasting of extreme weather events.

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8 Mar 2018 - Female free divers spend their time exploring parts of the ocean most of us never see. Now, they're fighting to save it.

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In order to avoid disaster–and to ensure a sustainable supply of fish for the future–far more of our ocean needs urgent protection.

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1 Mar 2018 - Hawaii’s legislature is taking action toward the U.S.’ first statewide prohibition on foam packaging, which is toxic to marine life.

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26 Feb 2017 - Global funding to revolutionise waste management in the world’s worst polluting countries could clean up ocean plastic by 77% by 2025.

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22 Feb 2018 - The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa announced at a press conference today that The Nippon Foundation – GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project is now operational.

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21 Feb 2018 - Container deposits reduce the amount of beverage containers on the coasts of both the United States and Australia by 40%.

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20 Feb 2018 - Thirteen universities and not-for-profit research organizations will share nearly $2.7 million in funding to look closely at the impact of contaminants on fish, marine mammals and other aquatic species.

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9 Feb 2017 -  Major step forward towards cleaner seas and safer navigation

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5 Feb 2018 - Scientists have shown that up to 12 million tons of plastic are entering our oceans every year – that’s a rubbish truck full every minute.

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1 Feb 2018 - Scientists have revealed for the first time that our rivers and oceans are so rife with plastic that miniscule particles are penetrating every stage of the food chain.

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31 Jan 2018 - An onslaught of bottles, bags and other litter makes reefs 20 times more likely to get sick. Scientists are scrambling to learn why.

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