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India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative

Topics Covered:

  1. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  2. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Highlights of the initiative.
  • For Mains: Significance and the need for such initiatives, challenges ahead and measures necessary to curb marine pollution.


Context: The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to launch the ‘India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative’.


India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative:

  1. The Initiative will combat marine pollution, which is one of the fastest growing environmental concerns.
  2. Both countries will share experiences, competence and collaborate on efforts to develop clean and healthy oceans.
  3. Both the sides will jointly collaborate for sustainable use of ocean resources and growth in the blue economy.
  4. Through a range of implementing partners, this initiative will seek to support local governments in implementing sustainable waste management practices, develop systems for collecting and analysing information about sources and scope of marine pollution.
  5. They will also work towards beach clean-up efforts, awareness raising campaigns and pilot project using plastic waste as fuel substitution for coal in cement production.


Bilateral efforts in this regard:

In January, 2019, the Indian and Norwegian governments agreed to work more closely on oceans by signing a MoU and establishing the India-Norway Ocean Dialogue during the Norwegian Prime Minister’s visit to India in January.

A joint Task Force on Blue Economy with government officials, researchers and experts as well as private sector was established to develop sustainable solutions within strategic areas of the blue economy, such as maritime and marine sector in addition to energy sector.


Causes of marine pollution:

Major sources of marine pollution are the inflow of chemicals, solid waste, discharge of radioactive elements, industrial and agricultural effluents, man-made sedimentation, oil spills, and many such factors. The majority portion of the marine pollution comes from the land that contributes to 80% of the marine pollution, air pollution also carries pesticides from farms and dust into the marine waters.


Types of marine pollution:

  1. Eutrophication
  2. Acidification
  3. Toxins
  4. Plastics


Effects of Marine Pollution:

  1. The contamination of water by excessive nutrients is known as nutrient pollution, a type of water pollution that affects the life under water. When excess nutrients like nitrates or phosphates get dissolved with the water it causes the eutrophication of surface waters, as it stimulates the growth of algae due to excess nutrients.
  2. Most of Benthic animals and plankton are either filter feeders or deposit feeders take up the tiny particles that adhere to potentially toxic chemicals. In the ocean food chains, such toxins get concentrated upward. This makes estuaries anoxic as many particles combine chemically depletive of oxygen.
  3. When the marine ecosystem absorbs the pesticides, they are incorporated into the food webs of the marine ecosystem. After getting dissolved in the marine food webs, these harmful pesticides causes mutations, and also results in diseases, which can damage the entire food web and cause harm to the humans.
  4. When toxic metals are dumped or flown into the oceans through drains, it engulfs within the marine food webs. These can cause a change to tissue matter, biochemistry, behavior, reproduction, and suppress and alter the marine life’s growth.
  5. Marine toxins can be transferred to several animals feeding on the fish or fish hydrolysate as a meal, toxins are then transferred to dairy products and meat of these affected land animals.


Mains Question: Oceans are claimed to be ‘last frontiers’ of growth and development, however, this potential needs to be utilised in a balanced manner. In this backdrop, examine whether creation of Marine protected areas is in sync with India’s Blue economy strategy?