Healthy oceans and seas are essential to our existence. They cover 70 percent of our planet, and we rely on them for food, energy and water.
And what better way to celebrate Oceans Day, than by exploring research related to SDG 14 – Life below water? Goal 14 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Join us in exploring SDG14-related research and all the innovative publications and scholarship featured in our network of over 86 million publications.
In recognition of World’s Oceans Day, ScienceOpen hosted a special article collection published by nonprofit Annual Reviews that address the topics of marine pollution, human impact and environmental stewardship, and marine species’ adaptation. The Oceans collection aims to raise awareness about the grave consequences of plastic debris in our oceans and the overall impact humans have on the marine environment.
Plastics contamination was first reported nearly 50 years ago, following the rise of commercial plastics production. According to ‘Plastics in the Marine Environment’ by Kara Laveder Law, global plastics production surpassed 300 million metric tons per year in 2014. Plastic debris has been detected worldwide in all major marine habitats. In her article, Law presents a framework to evaluate the current “understanding of the sources, distribution, fate, and impacts of marine plastics”. In a similar vein, ‘Plastic as a Persistent Marine Pollutant’ by Boris Worm et al. discusses how marine plastics work their way into the food web in the first place. This article further presents the complex toxicology of plastic particles on marine life and how plastic can transfer up the food chain. Worm et al. offer solutions to the current crisis by suggesting a Global Convention on Plastic Pollution as a collaboration between “governments, producers, scientists, and citizens”.
“Even though plastics are hard materials, at the microscopic level they absorb persistent organic compounds. Persistent organic pollutants like DDT, PCBs, flame retardants and fabric treatments have an affinity for plastic. Plastics act like sponges, soaking them up.” Continue reading “Oceans and Human Impact”