Last update:
6 January, 2005

About the photos

In our minds, large accidental oil spills that hit coasts and initially destroy everything symbolize the problem of marine oil pollution. These spills do, however, account for "only" 10-15 per cent of all the oil that enters the ocean every year.

Oil-polluted stormwater and sewage from municipalities, dribbing and drabbing from numerous sources in coastal facilities, gaseous hydrocarbons from our cars and motor boats, and many more such on-land or recreational coastal activities that we do not link to marine oil pollution - those are the constant sources of a large and never-ending input of oil to the marine environment.

There is a long list of oil tankers, offshore oil wells and pipelines that have, over the years, caused large, spectacular, accidental oil spills. Extensive, immediate and long-term damage to coastal and marine habitats and ecosystems, seabirds, mammals, fisheries and people, has almost always been the result.

A lot of the oil that pollutes the ocean comes from natural sources, natural seeps in the seabed, and cannot be stopped. But most importantly, the without comparison largest portion of the annual input of oil into the coastal and marine environment worldwide comes from land-based sources as a result of ordinary, everyday activities on land.
The Global Marine Oil Pollution Information Gateway ...

is published by the UNEP Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (UNEP GPA) as the oil pollution node of the GPA Clearing-House Mechanism. The objective is to establish a clearing-house, a gateway, for providing information on and a forum for exchange of information on the global, regional and local problems caused by marine oil pollution;
will guide you to facts on oils (hydrocarbons) and marine oil pollution, compiled and presented by people all around the world. You will find information on the efforts made by the international community to address the problem and find ways to take preventive action on the global, regional and national level;
is a place to find people, region by region, who are already engaged in the fight against marine oil pollution and its impacts.