Pollution — from oil spills, coal plants and other sources — can negatively impact the health of the oceans and both the creatures and people who depend on them.  Oceana is working to stop ocean pollution from all of these sources in order to protect marine biodiversity and abundance.

The vast oceans act as a tremendous carbon sink, absorbing about one-third of carbon dioxide emissions. Climate-changing gases from offshore oil and other fossil fuels are changing ocean chemistry, saturating the oceans with carbon dioxide and making them increasingly acidic.

Acidification is already leading to the degradation of coral reef habitats and negatively impacting some commercially important fisheries, like shellfish. Oceana advocates for clean energy, like windpower  — and particularly for energy that comes from the ocean — in order to reduce climate-changing gases and the impact of ocean acidification and climate change on our seas.

The ever-increasing amount of livestock, raised to supply the skyrocketing demand for meat, is also contributing to climate change. Cow and other livestock release vast amounts of methane gas, which is a far more potent climate changing gas than carbon dioxide. Plus, cows, pigs and other animals raised for meat generate huge amounts of waste and require a great deal of freshwater and land. Oceana is advocating for fisheries reform around the world that would reduce the dependence on livestock for animal protein by making oceans and seafood more plentiful and abundant.

Offshore drilling increases the risk of toxic exposure from oil contamination to wildlife and coastal communities, and contributes to economic losses and climate change. Offshore drilling operations are a source of insidious leaks, and catastrophic spills and blowouts.  Oceana is opposed to offshore oil drilling in unique and fragile ecosystems, such as the Arctic and Belize, where even a small oil spill could have significant consequences. 

Our oceans also face multiple threats to their health due to pollution from aquaculture, coal-burning, land-based runoff, plastics, shipping pollution and mine tailings. Industrial plants continue to release toxic chemicals directly into the oceans. And, power plants continue to be sited adjacent to the oceans (and even directly next to marine reserves) where they emit air pollution, as well as pump super-heated water and anti-fouling chemicals directly into the seas.  Oceana is campaigning to stop the siting of industrial and power plants in Chile and elsewhere.