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World - 7 ways to clean up plastic and other ocean pollution simultaneously

Protecting human and marine health and harnessing the full benefits of a sustainable ocean economy will require not only reducing plastic waste, but also all ocean pollutants. The sundry pollutants making their way into the ocean often share common pathways and root causes, such as a lack of access to sanitation and wastewater processing or inefficient use of natural resources. Tackling these root causes can have a compounding effect.

The U.N. Environment Program estimated the global damage to marine environments from plastic pollution to be a minimum of $13 billion per year. And a whole host of non-plastic pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorous fuel harmful algal blooms, antibiotics, heavy metals, pesticides, oil and gas and other debris. These pollutants enter the ocean directly, through rivers, stormwater or the wind. These substances have been damaging the environment, human health and the economy long before plastics became so prevalent.

A new Blue Paper commissioned by the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy highlights seven solutions that can reduce plastic pollution while also curbing other types of ocean pollution:

  1. Improve wastewater management;
  2. Improve stormwater management .
  3. Adopt green chemistry practices and new materials.;
  4. Practice radical resource efficiency;
  5. Recover and recycle;
  6. Implement coastal zone improvements;
  7. Build local systems for safe food and water.