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Marine pollution
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Introduction
Marine pollution from human activities can be found at all points across the ocean’s vast expanse, whether in the deep, at the surface, or in the organisms that live in it. Land-based sources (such as agricultural run-off, discharge of nutrients, pesticides and untreated sewage including plastics) account for approximately 80% of marine pollution globally, and include sewage and wastewater, persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, oils, nutrients, sediments and marine debris (or marine litter). Plastics typically constitute the most important part of marine debris, sometimes accounting for up to 100 % of floating litter, and impacting economies, ecosystems, animal welfare and human health worldwide. Nutrient over-enrichment is considered to be the main causes of so-called “dead zones”, hypoxic regions that exhibit oxygen levels that are too low to support many aquatic organisms, including commercially desirable species, and resulting in the collapse of some ecosystems.

Over 540 voluntary commitments relate to the reduction of marine pollution, demonstrating the importance of this activity. Most commonly, they aim to reduce marine pollution from plastics through bans on plastic products, recycling and coastal cleanups. Commitments relating to nutrient management and controlling other sources of pollution were also common.

This Community of Ocean Action aims to support its members in implementing their marine pollution-related voluntary commitments by exchanging progress reports, experiences, lessons learned and good practices.
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Focal points
  • Mr. Andreas Merkl, President, Ocean Conservancy
  • Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization (IMO)
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