This SDG Knowledge Weekly spotlights recent findings and platforms on SDG 14 (life below water). The brief also reviews a few items on decarbonization towards SDG 13 (climate action), which researchers note plays a key role in ocean-related challenges.
Life on earth is utterly dependent on healthy oceans. They produce much of the oxygen we breathe, cycle the carbon dioxide, and regulate the weather we experience. Perhaps it is the vastness of the oceans that has made us complacent about its capacity to keep absorbing our toxic wastes?
After a year of global ocean meetings, the international community is finally facing up to the reality of polluted, depleted oceans.
Policies to protect the marine environment that do not address the finite nature of our world will fail.
(Bali, Indonesia): The comprehensive report, Ocean Pollutants Guide: Toxic Threats to Human and Marine Life, recently released by IPEN and the National Toxics Network (NTN), provides an up-to-date synthesis of data on toxic chemical ocean pollution, including hazardous pesticides, pharmaceuticals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like PCBs, plastics, microplastics, and heavy metals, and exposes their sweeping impacts on marine and human life. A valuable resource for policy makers, the report bridges information gaps between ocean health and chemical safety, and highlights critical policy opportunities for action by bringing simultaneous visibility to the role of invisible toxic chemicals and plastics.
Ocean health is essential for our survival. Yet every day, a toxic cocktail of intentional and unintentional chemical releases, along with a relentless tidal wave of wastes, particularly plastic waste, enters our waterways and the marine environment. This dual and intertwined threat of invisible toxic chemicals, microplastics, and visible plastic debris profoundly endangers human health, marine life and the environment.