Referring to the Bali Declaration and the Resolution on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, RC3S focuses on marine pollution from land-based activities, particularly: (1) marine litter, (2) increased nutrients, (3) wastewater, and 4) emerging pollutants.
According to UNEP, marine litter is any persistent, manufactured or processed solid material discarded, disposed of or abandoned in the marine and coastal environment. One of the most familiar categories of marine litter found in the shoreline or anywhere in the marine environment is plastic. High and rapidly increasing levels of marine litter – including plastic litter and microplastics, represent a serious marine environmental problem at a global scale, negatively affecting marine biodiversity, ecosystems, animal well-being, societies, livelihoods, fisheries, maritime transport, recreation, tourism and economies.
Marine environment receive large amounts of nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from land-based activities. These substances is likely to be exported from watersheds to large marine ecosystems (LMEs) globally across a large range of magnitudes. Industrialized agriculture accounts one of the largest sources of (N) and (P) in the form of animal manure, inefficient nutrient application, bad irrigation practices, and soil erosion. Although nutrients is needed, excess nutrients can be highly damaging by causing eutrophication, algal blooms, dieback of seagrasses and corals, and reduced populations of fish and shellfish.
Wastewater, both treated and untreated, is widely recognized as a resource. As water demand is predicted to increase significantly over the coming decades, minimizing water loss, changing management approaches and enabling water reuse to become intrinsic part of long-term sustainable solutions. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates annual global freshwater withdrawals at 3,928 km3 (UN 2017). More than half of it is being released into the environment as wastewater (municipal and industrial effluent and agricultural drainage), and less than half is being consumed, mainly by agriculture through evaporation in irrigated cropland. Over 80% of wastewater released to the environment is not adequately treated.
Emerging pollutants can be described as significant number of chemicals which are not commonly monitored but have the potential to enter the marine environment and cause adverse ecological and human health effects. These pollutant include microplastics, endocrine disrupting compounds, mine tailing discharges and sargassum seaweed.