There's been a lot of news happening lately on — and in — the world's oceans. One item from this week that hasn't gotten the same headlines is the United Nations' vote to approve the "high seas treaty" aimed at protecting the world's oceans.
The agreement covers 75 specific articles for "protecting, caring for and ensuring the responsible use of the marine environment," the U.N. said in a news release.
"The ocean is the lifeblood of our planet, and today, you have pumped new life and hope to give the ocean a fighting chance," the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a June 19 statement as delegates adopted the treaty.
Individual countries will retain jurisdiction over pollution issues within their own territorial waters. The new treaty covers international waters.
Among other actions, the treaty addresses the estimated 17 million metric tons of plastic that enter the world's oceans each year.
"The treaty aims at strengthening resilience and contains provisions based on the polluter-pays principle as well as mechanisms for disputes," U.N. officials said in the news release. "Under the treaty's provisions, parties must assess potential environmental impacts of any planned activities beyond their jurisdictions."