People have historically treated the ocean as a dumping ground for waste, believing that, “dilution is the solution to pollution.” Roughly 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is discharged—untreated or only partially treated—into our lakes, rivers, streams, and the ocean. Sewage pollution is a significant threat to marine and coastal ecosystems, but, for most communities, “out of sight” means out of mind. As a result, awareness of the problem is limited. Fortunately, sewage pollution is a solvable threat—and addressing this problem can be good for conservation, human health, economic livelihoods, gender equality, and recreation.
Stephanie Wear is marine ecologist, conservation strategy advisor, and global spokesperson at The Nature Conservancy. In this interview, she shares her journey of learning about the threat of ocean sewage pollution; covers why this issue is relevant to marine conservation, human health, and gender equality; and discusses how funders can get involved in implementing solutions.
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