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Last Updated: March 2023
This article deals with ‘Marine Pollution – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Environment’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles on Environment, you can click here.
Marine Pollution is the spread of chemicals, particles, industrial, agricultural & residential wastes, and noise or invasive organisms in the marine environment.
Effects of Marine Pollution
- Bioaccumulation of toxins in zooplanktons & phytoplanktons
- Ocean acidification
- Coral bleaching
- Oil Spills: From ships carrying oil or from accidents in the deep ocean oil extraction facilities.
- Eutrophication: It results due to the fertilizer runoff from the farms. Eutrophication has created dead zones in several parts of the world, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Baltic Sea.
- Disposal of sewage and solid garbage
- Spread of invasive organisms: Invasive species multiply rapidly due to the absence of natural predators and damage the original ecosystem. E.g. zebra mussel in Great Lakes from the Black Sea in 1988.
- Increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 make the oceans more acidic, affecting calcifying organisms.
Steps taken by the International Community
- United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS): The convention acts as an effective international law regarding seas and oceans.
- London Convention: To prevent deliberate Marine Pollution by dumping wastes (India is not a member of the London Convention).
- International Maritime Organisation (a UN specialized agency) has developed a number of legal frameworks related to the marine environment.
- Bunker Convention for effective compensation for damage caused by oil spills
- Ballast Water Management Convention