The State of The Middle East’s Oceans – A Report

middle-east-north-africa-ocean-sea-healthFind out how Middle Eastern and North African nations fared in the recent global Ocean Health Index (I’ll give you a clue – not very well)

With a recent Greenpeace report urging action to tackle the toxicity of Lebanon’s waters due to trash, now seems the perfect time to look into the health of the region’s oceans. The Ocean Health Index is the first comprehensive global measurement of ocean health that includes people as part of the ocean ecosystem. The 2012 global index had been released and I’ve gone through the stats to dish the dirt on the MENA region’s oceans.

First, a little about how the index works. The index scientifically compares and combines all dimensions of ocean health – biological, physical, economic and social, in order to generate an objective and accurate snapshot of the health of the ocean controlled by every coastal country. It then puts all those scores together and the overall scores are used for the index.

As such, a country may score really well on say biodiversity but still end up low on the index if they do badly on everything else. For example, Syria is in the top ten for biodiversity scoring an impressive 92 out of a 100 but overall the country is in the lowest 20 with an overall score of 45 out of a 100.

Drumroll please. The top scorers from the region are Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Israel – they all scored 63 out of a hundred and were ranked at 26 on the global index. Egypt was next with 61/100 and was ranked at 38. Tunisia and Jordan both scored 59 and were ranked at 57. In the interest of clarity the rest of the countries are listed below by rank. You can click on the country to get the data breakdown and the a full profile of the country.

Saudi Arabia (69)

Turkey (94)

Bahrain (105)

Kuwait (114)

Lebanon (114)

Morocco (122)

Qatar (122)

Iraq (122)

Libya (142)

Syria (147)

Iran (147)

Yemen (157)

Algeria (162)

So rather unsurprisingly, countries such as Yemen, Iran, Libya and Iraq were at the very end of list and all scored around mid-40 out of a possible 100. Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo had the least healthiest oceans with them all score less than 40 out a 100. Top global scorers were Seychelles, Jarvis and Clipperton Island and the USA Pacific Uninhabited Territories. For the full breakdown of all the data for each country (as illustrated by the last two images) just click on the links . The index assessed 171 countries and territorial regions.

: Image of boats in Morocco via

For more information on the region’s oceans see:

6 Tips to Clean The Sea

June 8 is World Oceans Day – Be A Changemaker

Underwater Hotel Plans Revived In Dubai


About Arwa Aburawa

Arwa is a Muslim freelance writer who is interested in everything climate change related and how Islam can inspire more people to care for their planet and take active steps to save it while we can.She is endlessly suspicious of all politicians and their ceaseless meetings, especially as they make normal people believe that they are not part of the solution when they are the ONLY solution.Her Indian auntie is her model eco-warrier, and when Arwa is not busy helping out in the neighborhood alleyway garden, swap shopping or attempting fusion vegetarian dishes- with mixed success, she’d like to add- she can be found sipping on foraged nettle tea. You can find all of Arwa’s published work on her freelance site, and check out her musing on her blog.You can contact her @arwa_journalist or via arwa (at)

One thought on “The State of The Middle East’s Oceans – A Report

  1. JTR

    The only workable solution is for all nations to safely recycle 100% of their human-generated waste materials, and to peacefully reduce their populations with family planning education. Then there will be plenty of resources for wiser and globally conscious people in every nation around the World.


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