By: Engr. Rainero B. Morgia,
Msc Env, ChE

The oceans cover more than 70 per cent of the surface of our planet and play a key role in supporting life on earth. They are the most diverse and important ecosystem, contributing to global and regional elemental cycling, and regulating the climate. The ocean provides natural resources including food, materials, substances, and energy.

Marine Protected Areas contribute to poverty reduction by increasing fish catches and income, creating new jobs, improving health, and empowering women.

Increasing levels of debris in the world’s seas and oceans is having a major and growing economic impact.
Data and Statistics / Facts and Figures:
• Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water, and represent 99 per cent of the living space on the planet by volume
• Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods
• Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year or about 5 per cent of global GDP
• Oceans absorb about 30 per cent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming
• Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein
• Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people


Targets linked to the environment

Target 14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution

Target 14.2: By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans

Target 14.3: Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels

Target 14.4: By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics

Target 14.5: By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information

Target 14.6: By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation

Target 14.7: By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism

Target 14.a: Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries

Target 14.b: Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Target 14.c: Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want.

Battling coastal eutrophication in the Philippines nutrient pollution in Manila Bay and in adjacent Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines, is a major concern. Nutrients, mainly in the form of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds that come from farmland runoff, untreated sewage and detergents in domestic wastewater have been causing eutrophication both in the lake and the coastal Manila Bay. This has been affecting water quality with negative impacts to the health of aquatic ecosystems and the health of citizens with significant economic consequences. In 2008 the Supreme Court of the Philippines mandated that all government agencies and other bodies work together in restoring the water quality of the Manila Bay and its coastal areas to address the root causes of the current degradation, including the problems of nutrient over-enrichment. UN Environment, through the Global Programme of Action has been contributing to local efforts in understanding the nutrient cycling processes, nutrient enrichment pollution and the environmental consequences toward the development of improved practices to address | Initiatives on the ground banning plastic bags.

In Kenya On 28 August 2017, Kenya banned the use, manufacture and import of all single-use plastic bags. The ban is an effort to reduce the negative impact of plastic on the national environment, health and economy, following the findings of 2.5 plastic bags on average inside the stomachs of cows in Western Kenya. Going straight to the source in the USA North America continues to implement a series of initiatives to monitor marine pollution and address the introduction of pollutants into the oceans, including identifying their main sources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works with the International Maritime Organization to develop and implement legal standards that address vessel-source pollution and ocean dumping. It also partners with the Caribbean Environment Programme to reduce land-based sources of pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and the wider Caribbean region. In order to address the issue of oceans pollution, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is also engaging in strong outreach and education activities dedicated to minimizing the introduction of debris into the marine environment. Contributor: University of South Florida Preventing untreated wastewater to enter the Caribbean Sea More than 80% of sewage enters the Caribbean Sea untreated, making it the primary source of land-based marine pollution. During the last five years, the Caribbean Environment Programme has helped countries reduce the negative impacts of untreated sewage discharge through the Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management project. As a result, 13 wastewater treatment facilities were rehabilitated in Jamaica, and a new wastewater treatment plant was built in Belize. The Caribbean Environment Programme is also working to reduce nutrients pollution from agricultural discharge with the governments of Jamaica and Costa Rica, and has contributed to the establishment of the Caribbean Platforms for Nutrients and Wastewater Management. The first State of the Convention Area or Pollution Report will be published in 2018 with the aim of assisting governments of the Wider Caribbean with the reduction and prevention of marine pollution. Freeing the Mediterranean from marine litter The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most affected by marine litter, having some of the largest amounts of Municipal Solid Waste generated annually per person: approximately 208-760 kg/person/ year, the vast majority of which is plastics, which may reach up to 90% of the recorded marine litter items. The Mediterranean countries, Parties to the Barcelona Convention, are joining efforts for freeing the Mediterranean from marine litter with the entry into force in 2013 of the first-ever legally-binding Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management. In this framework, specific actions are on-going: for instance, Mediterranean countries are implementing fishing-for-litter and adopt-a-beach pilots. To tackle plastic litter at its source, the Mediterranean Action Plan Secretariat is also providing technical assistance to the Mediterranean countries in order to develop the legal framework for the banning of single-use plastic bags at the national level.

These are just some of the scenarios and remedies we are presently undertaking.

Please let’s make life easy for those living below our oceans by achieving our initiative targets altogether.

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