"Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development."
Oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface. They are essential for making the planet livable. Rainwater, drinking water, and climate are all regulated by ocean temperatures and currents. Over 3 billion people depend on marine life for their livelihood. Oceans absorb 30 percent of all carbon dioxide produced by humans.
The oceans contain more than 200,000 identified species, and there might be thousands of species that are yet to be discovered. Oceans are the world's largest sources of protein. However, there has been a 26 percent increase in acidification since the industrial revolution. A full 30 percent of marine habitats have been destroyed, and 30 percent of the world's fish stocks are over-exploited. Marine pollution has reached shocking levels; each minute, 15 tons of plastic are released into the oceans. 20 percent of all coral reefs have been destroyed irreversibly, and another 24 percent are in immediate risk of collapse.
Approximately 1 million seabirds, 100 000 marine mammals, and an unknown number of fish are harmed or die annually due to marine pollution caused by humans. It has been found that 95 percent of fulmars in Norway have plastic parts in their guts. Microplastics are another form of marine pollution.
Individuals can help the oceans by reducing their energy consumption and their use of plastics. Nations can also take action. In Norway, for instance, citizens, working through a web page called finn.no, can earn money for picking up plastic on the beach. Several countries, including Kenya, have banned the use of plastic bags for retail purchases.
Improving the oceans contributes to poverty reduction, as it gives low-income families a source of income and healthy food. Keeping beaches and ocean water clean in less developed countries can attract tourism, as stated in Goal 8, and reduce poverty by providing more employment.
The targets include preventing and reducing marine pollution and acidification, protecting marine and coastal ecosystems, and regulating fishing. The targets also call for an increase in scientific knowledge of the oceans.
Content source: Wikipedia
Image credits: Margreet de heer
Image license: CC-BY-ND