LIFE BELOW WATER

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Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water, and represent 99 per cent of the living space on the planet by volume. Oceans absorb about 30 percent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

Carbon emissions from human activities are causing ocean warming, acidification and oxygen loss. The ocean has also absorbed more than 90 percent of the excess heat in the climate system. Ocean heat is at record levels, causing widespread marine heatwaves. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people.

Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year or about 5 per cent of global GDP.

Coastal waters are deteriorating due to pollution and eutrophication. Without concerted efforts, coastal eutrophication is expected to increase in 20 percent of large marine ecosystems by 2050. Roughly 80 percent of marine and coastal pollution originates on land – including agricultural run-off, pesticides, plastics and untreated sewage. Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year

Around 680 million people live in low-lying coastal zones – that is expected to increase to a billion by 2050. Sustainable and climate- resilient transport, including maritime transport, is key to sustainable development. Around 80 per cent of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and the percentage is even higher for most developing countries

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