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Why Ocean Pollution Matters

Why Ocean Pollution Matters

by Emily Bell

A year ago



“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”

-Jacques Cousteau


Oceans are kind of a big deal. They produce and redistribute 70% of our oxygen, are home to 100 million species, (25% of which live in coral reefs) and take up 77% of the planet. BUT if we've learned anything in the past decade, it's that nothing is too big to fail (looking at you, Wall Street). In fact, our oceans are facing some pretty daunting concerns:

    -OVERFISHING - 85% of the world’s marine stocks are either fully exploited or overfished, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This means there is a huge growth in the farmed seafood industry (think more antibiotics, excessive feeding of fish, aka icky ish in your *reusable* water bottle and your sushi rolls…)

    -CORAL BLEACHING - Coral bleaching is what happens when water temperature rises (we see you, climate change), coral becomes stressed, and eventually dies. And our coral reefs like the Great Barrier Reef are dying FAST -in fact, we've lost about half of the world's coral reefs in the past 30 years to just a TWO-degree increase globally in water temperatures. Destructive fishing practices, like explosives, are also contributing to a massive coral loss.

    -POLLUTION - Over 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Whether we are actually dumping our trash into the ocean or from run-off through drains and rivers, a lot of nasty chemicals are ending up in our oceans.


Overfishing has major consequences on consumers and producers of the fish industry - aka EVERYONE. Even if you're landlocked or think that seafood is icky, fisheries impact on the global economy is HUGE. And coral? Not only will Nemo and friends be homeless, but that loss to biodiversity means additional blows to our economy and scientists are just beginning to discover the potential contributions to medicine that could be unlocked. Plus, who doesn't love a good beach day?!

All that said, we aren’t hopeless. By purchasing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified seafood products, we are supporting and reward responsible fisheries and voting with our dollar. We can also support companies and businesses that use sustainable fertilizers and deal with their waste responsibly. Taking small steps towards living overall more sustainable, healthier lifestyles will make major changes in our environment - it’s all connected, and while that can seem terrifying it can also be empowering.  

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