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Saving our blue planet means saving our lives

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. – Mahatma Gandhi

SDG 14 pays attention to one important thematic: life below water. Nowadays oceans are facing serious problems, such as nutrient pollution, resources depletion and climate change, that are caused mainly by human actions. These issues place further concern around environmental systems, like biodiversity and natural infrastructure. In order to face these threats and promote ocean sustainability, innovative solutions are essential. World leaders must also work to protect marine species and support the people who depend on oceans.

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U.N. provided some data to analyse the current situation:

• more than 3 billion people depend on marine biodiversity for their sustenance;

• oceans contain approximately 200.000 identified species;

• oceans absorb almost 30 percent of carbon dioxide produced by human beings, thus mitigating the impact of global warming on Earth;

• oceans represent the biggest reserve of proteins;

• fishing industries give employment to more than 200 million people;

• fisheries subsidies are contributing to the depletion of various fish species;

• 40 percent of the oceans are influenced by human activities, including pollution, depletion of fish stocks and loss of natural habitats along the coasts.

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The U.N. also provided some targets to follow in order to reach SD4 14 by 2030:

  • Prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities;

  • Sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts;

  • Effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans;

  • Prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing;

  • Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology;

  • Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources.

Healthy oceans are fundamental for our survival. Sea waters, in fact, generate most part of the oxygen we breath, they feed us, regulate the climate and help purify the water we drink. In order to protect the oceans, there are some behaviors that we can put into practice. First of all, it’s necessary to change perspective: oceans are important for us and, for this reason, we have to protect it from human bad behaviors, like the dispersion of rubbish into the sea. We have to change our habits. A simple action, like changing the way we take a shower, can have an immense impact on the "blue planet".

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