Oceans & Seas

Oceans and seas play a vital role in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they significantly contribute to the Earth's biosphere's health and the global economy. They are critical to sustaining life on earth, acting as a major source of food and oxygen while also serving as natural carbon sinks that mitigate climate change impacts. SDG 14, "Life Below Water," explicitly acknowledges the importance of conservation and the sustainable use of the world's oceans, seas, and marine resources.

Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. However, this process has implications such as ocean acidification, negatively impacting marine biodiversity and ecosystems. These impacts, coupled with unsustainable fishing practices and pollution, threaten the health of our oceans and seas. SDG 14 sets targets to prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems, and regulate harvesting and end overfishing to restore fish stocks to sustainable levels.

Oceans also support economic wellbeing. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. By protecting oceanic ecosystems, the SDGs also support SDG 1, "No Poverty," and SDG 8, "Decent Work and Economic Growth." Furthermore, the oceanic routes are critical for global trade, supporting SDG 9, "Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure."

Furthermore, by implementing strategies for cleaner and more sustainable use of oceans and seas, it can also contribute to SDG 13, "Climate Action." For instance, developing and implementing new technologies to harness energy from waves and tides can promote renewable energy usage and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, aligning with SDG 7, "Affordable and Clean Energy."

Elsevier, Case Studies in Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Volume 3, June 2021
The widespread consumption of electronic devices has made spent batteries an ongoing economic and ecological concern with a compound annual growth rate of up to 8% during 2018, and expected to reach between 18% and 30% to 2030. There is a lack of regulations for the proper storage and management of waste streams that enables their accumulation in open settings and the leakage of hazardous substances into the environment on landfill settings.
After 10 years of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, Japan decided on 13 April 2021 to release the nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. It is apparent that Japan has chosen the most cost-efficient way to deal with the contaminated water, however, great opposition and concerns have been aroused internationally due to the harmful ecotoxicological features of radioactive materials. Here we analyze the ecological impacts caused by the nuclear accident and the potential impacts of releasing the nuclear wastewater into the ocean.
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Oceans and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate suggests sea level rise may be best understood as a slow onset disaster for Pacific Island countries and, in particular, low lying atoll nations. Sea-level rise, coastal flooding and surge inundation is an increasingly pressing problem across the urban Pacific.

Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 29, June 2021

Microplastic pollution has sparked interest from researchers, public, industries, and regulators owing to reports of extensive presence of microplastics in the environment, household dust, drinking water, and food, which indicates chronic exposure to organisms within ecosystems and in human living spaces. Although exposure to microplastics is evident, negative effects from microplastics appear to be minimal in most studies on biota, and no risk assessments have been completed for microplastics on human health.


Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021

Sea-level rise poses a significant threat to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) due to the concentration of people, assets, and infrastructure in coastal zones. This review assesses literature on key emerging topics in sea level rise including: the lasting impact of near-term mitigation on long-term sea-level rise; new global coastal vertical elevation data and their impact on existing sea-level rise projections; and the interaction of sea-level rise with other hazards, including salinization, tropical cyclones and extreme precipitation.


Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021

As sea level rise drives saltwater farther inland, drinking water supplies of some coastal cities will be contaminated. This paper evaluates how climate change is shifting the location of ‘salt lines,’ the zone where coastal fresh water meets the ocean, and implications for drinking water management. It focuses on changes from climate, as opposed to water overuse or water quality mismanagement, and reviews recent literature along three dimensions. Firstly, the paper reviews regulations on salinity in drinking water.


The Atlantic Walrus, Multidisciplinary insights into human-animal interactions, 2021, Pages 251-262

This book chapter advances SDGs 13, 14, and 15 by presenting an overview of the current management requirements regarding the hunting of Atlantic walruses. It highlights how management and regulation occur across local, national, regional and international levels and the importance of effective collaboration between hunters, scientists and managers for successful conservation.
This book chapter advances SDG 14 by explaining how biological factors that influence microbial structure and activity in coastal sediments include the various interactions between microorganisms involving trophic interactions such as competition, predation, and parasitism; between microbes and plants as well as the influence of benthic animals in the sediments.
This book chapter addresses SDG 9 and 17 by explaining the evolution of the blue economy. From the moment it moved offshore, the oil and gas industry had a requirement for the skills of geotechnical engineers, geoscientists, meteorologists, and oceanographers to ensure that activities were conducted efficiently and safely, and a core element of the new blue economy was created. The migration into deeper water created new challenges, and the industry invests heavily in scientific studies, and research and development, to overcome them. In many cases, oil and gas companies form consortiums that support collaborative research conducted jointly by academic and industry scientists. As the level of engagement with the ocean observing community has grown, the industry has released much of its data into the public domain and supported the development of appropriate degrees and training to ensure that the new blue economy has a capable workforce. As the balance of energy moves away from hydrocarbons to renewable energy sources, and new industries emerge such as deep-sea mining, requiring the services of ocean scientists, the new blue economy created by the oil and gas industry will be well equipped to serve their needs.
World Environment Day is the most renowned day for environmental action. Since 1974, it has been celebrated every year on June 5th, engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue. To mark World Environment Day 2021, Elsevier presents a curated list of free access journal articles and book chapters in support of this year's theme - Ecosystem Restoration.