14.1 Clean seas
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
We human beings are destroying the oceans, although we need them to survive. They regulate the global ecosystem, influence the climate, and provide food and an income for many million people.
About 11 per cent of the world’s population depend on fishing for their livelihood, especially in coastal areas and on small island states. A large percentage of our water bodies is overfished, and the water is polluted, especially coastal waters. Small fishers are sinking into poverty and being forced to leave their homes. Coral reefs are dying. Species diversity is jeopardised. The conglomeration of huge quantities of plastic waste in our oceans is a particularly deadly and acute threat. The plastic is gradually ground down into small particles which are eaten by fish and seabirds. From there it enters our food chain.
What must be done?
The international community can only help restore our oceans to health by working together. More robust action must be taken to tackle illegal fishing, and non-sustainable forms of subsidies for the fishing industry must be ended. Industry and consumers are also called on to act. They must give precedence to products from sustainable fishing, and must stop throwing their rubbish into the sea. Everybody can do something to make our oceans healthy, be it eating fish from certified sources or renouncing the use of plastic packaging as far as possible. Stepping up investment into ocean research, and sharing findings with developing countries too, can help better protect oceans and coastal areas in future in political, environmental and economic terms.
Facts and figures