Ocean Pollution: The Dirty Facts

Updated: May 12

We’re drowning marine ecosystems in trash, noise, oil, and carbon emissions.


Covering more than 70 percent of our planet, oceans are among the earth’s most valuable natural resources. They govern the weather, clean the air, help feed the world, and provide a living for millions. They also are home to most of the life on earth, from microscopic algae to the blue whale, the largest animal on the planet. Yet we’re bombarding them with pollution. By their very nature—with all streams flowing to rivers, all rivers leading to the sea—the oceans are the end point for so much of the pollution we produce on land, however far from the coasts we may be. And from dangerous carbon emissions to choking plastic t