Our oceans need to be preserved and protected. Covering over 70% of earth, our oceans are home to over a million known wildlife species and provide the food and livelihoods for over 3 billion people. The protection of the marine and coastal biodiversity of our ocean is critical to our world.
SDG 14 focuses on “conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”*. It’s key mission is “to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution by 2025”*. This target is crucial when we consider that fisheries create over 57 million jobs globally and provide the main source of protein to over 50% of the world’s most underdeveloped nations**.
The use of plastics in everyday life is an increasingly prevalent and well-known environmental issue, yet despite this the practice continues to grow at an alarming rate. Approximately one million plastic bottles are purchased around the world every single minute**. The largest threat to the marine industry today is the proliferation of microplastics. Microplastics are pieces of plastic smaller than five millimetres in size. This makes them easily ingested by marine life and a great cause for concern when we consider how reliant people are on marine life as a food source worldwide. Sadly, the full health implications that ingesting plastics can casue are still yet to be fully understood. The issue of microplastics is now so widespread that they can be found in our tap water, with approximately 94% of tap water samples testing positive for microplastics in the USA***.
Microplastics will continue to affect billions of people and their impact on our ecosystems will only worsen in the years to come unless significant action is taken worldwide.
How businesses can assist with SDG 14:
By eliminating the consumption of single use plastics such as plastic bags in your business and adopting more sustainable practices SME’s can effectively participate in making a difference to the quality and longevity of life in our oceans. Simple lifestyle practices such as using keep cups instead of plastic coffee cups limits the amount of wastage and plastics in our oceans. By making more ocean friendly decisions when purchasing products or using certain suppliers, this can also further help make our seas cleaner.