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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.

The Ocean Sewage Pollution Hub features resources to help both those new to the field and seasoned practitioners better understand the problem of ocean sewage pollution, promising solutions at hand, and opportunities for active engagement.

Explore the threat of ocean sewage pollution and learn how it can be solved within our lifetime.

Get Informed

This section includes an orientation on the threat of sewage pollution, interviews and perspective pieces with thought leaders, country case studies, and insights from leading research studies. We encourage new entrants and seasoned practitioners alike to learn more and explore emerging insights from the field.

Resource Library

Explore our curated collection of relevant published studies and reports on sewage pollution.

For more resources about pollution,
visit the Our Shared Seas downloads library.


This list features teams working on the issue of sewage pollution. All stakeholders (organizations, companies, public agencies, academic institutions, and others) engaged in this field are invited to submit information here to share with the community of practice.

Join the list by filling out this short form

Imagine H2OImagine H2O is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization empowering people to deploy and develop innovation to solve water challenges globally. Imagine H2O provides entrepreneurs with practical insights, a global network, and pilot funding to build sustainable businesses and accelerate growth. This year, Imagine H2O is spotlighting the connection between cities and ocean health through the Urban Water Challenge. Imagine H2O

Urban Water Challenge
Rare’s Center for Behavior & the EnvironmentThe Center for Behavior & the Environment is translating science into practice and leveraging the best behavioral insights and design thinking approaches to tackle some of the most challenging environmental issues. Through partnerships with leading academic and research institutions, we are bringing the research into the field to connect the next generation of behavioral scientists with practitioners on the front lines of our greatest environmental challenges.
The Nature ConservancyThe Nature Conservancy is working across sector to create enabling conditions for ocean sewage pollution reduction. TNC is building resources for conservation practitioners to address sewage pollution and is collaborating with others on building tools for sanitation managers to choose nature-based solutions. Finally, TNC is building a cross-sector partnership to build awareness about the problem of ocean sewage pollution as well as identify solutions and encourage action on the ground.The Nature Conservancy

Reef Resilience
USCB/NCEASHalpern Research Lab and National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
Global and regional assessment of the sources and impacts of wastewater in coastal marine ecosystems, with particular focus on mapping where sewer, septic and direct sources come from and where they have impact on sensitive marine habitats.
Halpern Research Lab

SanergySanergy provides innovative, zero waste sanitation solutions that liberate low-income communities from societal, economic and environmental inequity, ensuring they lead productive, high quality lives in harmony with the environment. We develop sustained, end-to-end sanitation models for urban slums, delivering dignified, desirable sanitation products and services that meet the needs of low-income residents, and removing human waste from these communities, preventing pollution of the environment and oceans.