Due to the interrelatedness of SDGs, reducing ocean wastewater pollution can directly impact many of the goals. Using it as a mechanism for achieving SDG goals provides the opportunity to leverage ocean wastewater pollution tools and ongoing work to the benefit of almost all of the SDGs. For example, the ocean wastewater pollution toolset includes established metrics for success that are commonly used around the world to facilitate monitoring and assessing change in nutrient concentrations in coastal waters. As an important part of ocean wastewater pollution efforts, the broad application of these metrics has the potential to meaningfully impact the success of SDGs; at least two of the SDG goals are directly relevant to reducing ocean wastewater pollution and improving human and environmental health:
- Goal 6 “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
- Goal 14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”
In fact, the nature of these two goals, #6) Clean Water and Sanitation, and #14) Life Below Water, connects them to most of the remaining SDGs. There is a great opportunity to take advantage of the potential synergy in addressing ocean wastewater pollution and the SDGs in a coordinated manner. Ocean health impacts livelihoods, nutrition, and economies, as do public health efforts to improve sanitation, nutrition, gender equality, and education. (See the table below.)
Sustainable solutions to ocean wastewater pollution will minimize health risks, preserve fisheries and ecosystems, combat disease and suffering, free time from securing clean water, offer employment opportunities to waste collectors and fishermen, and contribute to the stability, sustainability, and dignity of local communities.