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A healthy coastal and marine environment is essential for the ongoing sustainable development of human society. The ocean is a large absorber of atmospheric heat and carbon dioxide, and provides a vital buffer against anthropogenic climate change. The ocean contributes to human well-being in many ways, such as providing protein from fisheries, maintaining various natural cycles and is also a source of recreation and spiritual comfort. However, coastal and marine ecosystems are also facing serious threats.
There are major environmental concerns on a global scale, which include acidification, deoxygenation, warming and its associated sea level rise as well as frequent extreme weather conditions. High nutrient inputs and inflow of pollutants such as heavy metals and organic toxic materials deteriorate coastal environments. Accumulation of plastic waste in the ocean originating from both land and ocean is an emerging problem. Damaging fishing practices, including Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU), affect coastal and marine ecosystems. The role of science in minimizing these impacts upon nature and society should not be understated.