Virtually every corner of the world's oceans is affected by pollution, a growing global challenge with an acute environmental, social and economic impact.
Marine pollution provokes deep ecological shifts, great losses in biodiversity and reduced commercial yields. Contaminants such as heavy metals accumulated through the food chain or bacterial loads in coastal waters directly affect the health of millions of people.
Plastic litter and urban waste are accumulating worldwide at an alarming rate. In some areas, micro plastics already outnumber plankton by six to one.
Marine pollution costs billions. Dangerous items such as lost containers and fishing gear directly threaten navigation, infrastructure, marine species and human lives.
Tackling marine pollution is an ambitious challenge, but also a great opportunity: a circular economy that reduces waste could yield billions in cash just by improving efficiency. The need for litter recovery and recycling will open the door to new innovative business models. Such 'blue' entrepreneurship will not only help to improve the health and productivity of the marine environment, it will also allow smart solutions for sustainable development to flourish.
The Our Ocean Conference is looking for commitments from public authorities, business and civil society to help reduce contamination and littering, and develop initiatives that make ocean litter prevention, recovery and recycling more efficient. With political will building momentum, this year's conference aims to see the kind of commitment to action that will finally reverse the trend of ever-increasing marine pollution.