Economic Indicators and Various Reports On It- GDP, FD, EODB, WIR etc

Blue economy and marine pollution


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Blue economy

Mains level: Blue economy , maritime pollution and associated challenges

Blue economy


  • Blue economy relates to presentation, exploitation and regeneration of the marine environment. It is used to describe sustainability-based approach to coastal resources. The worry is that the oceans are under severe threat by human activities, especially when the economic gains come at the cost of maintaining environmental sanity.

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Blue economy

From the beginning: The Blue economy

  • Origin of the concept: Gunter Pauli’s book, “The Blue Economy: 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs” (2010) brought the Blue Economy concept into prominence.
  • A project to find best nature inspired and sustainable technologies: Blue Economy began as a project to find 100 of the best nature-inspired technologies that could affect the economies of the world. While sustainably providing basic human needs potable water, food, jobs, and habitable shelter.
  • Inclusive approach and objective: This is envisaged as the integration of Ocean Economy development with the principles of social inclusion, environmental sustainability and innovative, dynamic business models
  • Environment friendly maritime infrastructure: It is creation of environment-friendly infrastructure in ocean, because larger cargo consignments can move directly from the mothership to the hinterland through inland waterways, obviating the need for trucks or railways

Blue economy

Significance of Maritime transport

  • One of the largest employers within ocean-related activities: Maritime transport plays a big role in the globalised market in the form of containerships, tankers, and ports, coastal tourism is the largest employer within ocean-related activities.
  • Eighty percent trade happens on the seas: Eighty per cent of world trade happens using the seas, 40 per cent of the world’s population live near coastal areas, and more than three billion people access the oceans for their livelihood.
  • Annual value makes up equivalent to seventh largest GDP: A healthy marine environment is essential for a sustainable future for people and the planet. Its value is estimated to be over $25 trillion, with the annual value of produced goods and services estimated to be $2.5 trillion per year, equivalent to the world’s seventh largest economy in gross domestic product (GDP) terms.
  • Ensures food security: The oceans, seas and coastal areas contribute to food security and economic viability of the human population. The ocean is the next big economic frontier, with the rapidly growing numerous ocean-based industries.

What are the concerns?

  • Human induced Oceanic pollution: Marine activities have brought in pollution, ocean warming, eutrophication, acidification and fishery collapse as consequences on the marine ecosystems.
  • Oceans are rarely financial institutions: The ocean is uncharted territory, and rarely understood by financial institutions. Hence preparedness of these institutions in making available affordable long-term financing at scale is nearly zero.
  • Developing nations pay heavy price: In this journey of achieving blue economy goals, it is developing nations that pay a heavy economic price.
  • Lack of capacity is a critical hindrance: Many of the developing nations have high levels of external debt. Lack of capacity and technology for transition between agri economy and marine economy is also a critical hindrance.
  • Not having a elaborative guiding principles is a major concern: There is concern that without the elaboration of specific principles or guidance, national blue economies, or sustainable ocean economies, economic growth will be pursued with little attention paid to environmental sustainability and social equity.

Blue economy

What should be the approach towards achieving Blue economy?

  • Inclusive discussion and participation is must: The blue economy is based on multiple fields within ocean science and, therefore, needs inter-sectoral experts and stakeholders. It is imperative to involve the civil society, fishing communities, indigenous people and communities for an inclusive discussion.
  • SDG-14 journey cannot undermine the other SDGs: The UN stresses that equity must not be forgotten when supporting a blue economy. Land and resources often belong to communities, and the interests of communities dependent on the ocean are often marginalised, since sectors such as coastal tourism are encouraged to boost the economy.
  • Integrated marine spatial planning with national and global expertise is necessary: Developing the blue economy should be based on national and global expertise. It is important that any blue economy transformation should include using integrated marine spatial planning. This would provide collaborative participation of all stakeholders of the oceans, and would make room for debate, discussion and conflict resolution between the stakeholders.

Where does India stand at this hour?

  • Suitable natural geography: Vast coastline of almost 7,500 kilometres, with no immediate coastal neighbours except for some stretches around the southern tip. In some sense, India has the advantage of its natural geography
  • Opportunity on G20 presidency: It is an opportunity for India to use its G20 Presidency to ensure environmental sustainability, while providing for social equity.
  • Rising role and significance: India’s engagement in the blue economy has been rising, with its active involvement in international and regional dialogues, and maritime/marine cooperation.


  • Achieving the Blue economy goal would need tremendous human effort, and would call for global cooperation through various legal and institutional frameworks. This also includes the need to develop newer sectors such as renewable ocean energy, blue carbon sequestration, marine biotechnology and ex-tractive activities, with due attention paid to the environmental impacts.

Mains question

Q. What do you understand by mean Blue economy? Highlight the importance of maritime transport and discuss what need to be done to achieve blue economy in a true sense?

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