Land contributes to 80% of the marine pollution - Seeker's Thoughts

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Land contributes to 80% of the marine pollution

Marine pollution is one of the biggest threats to oceans and water ecosystem.  The majority portion of marine pollution comes from the land that contributes to 80% of marine pollution; air pollution also carries pesticides from farms and dust into the marine waters.

Air and land are a major contributor to the growing marine pollution that is not only hampering the aquatic ecology but also affecting the life on land. Sources like windblown debris, agriculture runoff, and dust become do cause pollution.

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Waste eventually finds the way into the sea with devastating consequences for marine life and the habitats they depend on. Shipping accidents and oil spills add additional toxins to the mix.

Rapid urbanization along the world’s coastlines has seen the growth of coastal ‘megacities’ with a population of 10 million or more and that caused more plastic and garbage dumping into oceans. 
In 2012, thirteen of the world’s 20 megacities were situated along coasts. Many of these faced pressure on infrastructure where urban waste and sewage management is poor.
The Endless Harm

The harm caused by plastic pollution has a wide range. It ruins wildlife above and below the waterline. An estimated one million sea birds and an unknown number of sea turtles die each year as a result of plastic debris clogging their digestive tracts, and marine animals of all sorts can become tangles and incapacitated by discarded fishing lines and plastic bags. Fish and other marine life ingest microplastics which in turn can find their way into the human food chain.

Types of Marine Pollution
There are a few reasons for the pollution in the ocean.
1. Eutrophication
2.  Acidification
3.   Toxins
4.   Plastic
5.    Effects of Marine Pollution


Due to the excess of chemical nutrients mainly nitrates and phosphates in the water, it leads to eutrophication or nutrient pollution. Eutrophication decreases the level of oxygen, reducing the quality of water, makes the water inhabitable for fish, affects the breeding process within the marine life and increases the primary productivity of the marine ecosystem.

Oceans act as a natural reservoir for absorbing the carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere. But, due to the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the oceans across the world are becoming acidic in nature; as a consequence, it leads to acidification of oceans. Researcher and scientists have not been able to uncover the potential damage ocean acidification may have on Earth’s atmosphere. 
But, there is a strong concern that acidification might lead to the dissolution of calcium carbonate structure that can affect the shell formation in shellfish and also the corals.

There are persistent toxins that do not get dissolved or disintegrate with the marine ecosystem rapidly. Toxins such as pesticides, DDT, PCBs, furans, TBT, radioactive waste, phenols, and dioxins get accumulated in the tissue cells of the marine life forms and lead to bioaccumulation hampering the life underwater and sometimes lead to a mutation in aquatic life forms.

The ever-growing dependence of the human population on plastic has filled the oceans and the land; it consists of 80% of the debris found in the oceans. Plastic dumped and found in the oceans are dangerous for the marine life forms and wildlife, as sometimes it strangles and chokes them to death. The rising levels of plastic dump found in the oceans and suffocating, ingesting, and entangling the life underwater as well as above it.


1-      More than 220 million tones of plastic are produced each year.

2-     Recent research has suggested that the amount of discarded plastic with outweigh the amount of fish in our oceans by 2050.

3-     60-90% of marine pollution is made up of different types of plastic.

4-     In 2006, the UN Environment programme estimates that every square mile of the ocean contained 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.

5-     A plastic bottle can last up to 450 years in the marine environment.

India Signs Agreement with Norway to Combat Marine Pollution

On February 11th 2019 India’s Environment Ministry on Monday signed an agreement with the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry for an initiative seeking to combat marine pollution.

This initiative will seek to support local government in implementing sustainable waste management practices, develop a system for collecting and analyzing information about sources and scope of marine pollution and improve private sector investment.

Support will also be directed towards beach clean-up efforts, awareness-raising campaigns and pilot project using plastic waste as fuel substitution for coal in cement production and developing frameworks for deposit schemes.

Last month, India and Norway agreed to work more closely in this field by establishing the India- Norway Marine Pollution Initiative Prime Minister’s visit to India.

A joint Taskforce on Blue Economy with government officials, researcher, and experts as well as the private sector was established to develop sustainable solutions within its strategic areas, such as maritime and marine sector in addition to energy.

In partnership, Norway and India will share experiences and competence, and collaborative on efforts to develop clean and healthy oceans, sustainable use of ocean resources and growth in the blue economy.

International Initiative to Curb Marine Pollution

The United Nations Environment Programme is the world’s leading voice on global environment priorities for governments. UNEP leads the Global Partnership on Marine Litter, which serves as a  voluntary coordination body of international agencies governments, NGOs, academia, private sector and civil society to work together to reduce and prevent marine litter and trash.

Environmental protection Agency is a partner to the Global Partnership on Marine Litter and participates by sharing success and best practiced from trash-free waters domestic program, as well as expanding international work on marine litter. 
The GPML also serves as an opportunity to hear from other working in marine litter, to strengthen policy decisions and provide the most up-to-date information on actions that governments are taking to reduce marine litter.
UNEP is also the lead on several important studies on marine litter, such as the report on plastic in cosmetics, and on biodegradable plastics in marine litter.

The biodegradable plastics study found that these plastics, once widely regarded as a potential solution to marine litter, do not, in fact, biodegrade fully within the marine environment. They also create difficulties for sorting the waste stream for recycling and reuse.

Solutions to Prevent Marine Pollution
It’s a very tough task to clean up mass pollution once it has occurred, however, several major steps can be taken to decrease the level of marine pollution. First of all implementation of renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power, to limit off-shore drilling, limited the agriculture pesticides and encourage organic farming and eco-friendly pesticide use. Recycling biosolids and regulates sewage sludge to help minimize metal concentrations in water. Cut down on the industry and manufacturing waste and contain landfills so they won’t spill into the ocean.

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