Marine Pollution

Marine pollution occurs when harmful, or potentially harmful, effects result from the entry into the ocean of chemicals, particles, industrial, agricultural and residential waste, noise, or the spread of invasive organisms. Most sources of marine pollution are land based.

Pollutants enter rivers and the sea directly from urban sewerage and industrial waste discharges, sometimes in the form of hazardous and toxic wastes.

Inland mining for copper, gold etc. is another source of marine pollution. Most of the pollution is simply soil, which ends up in rivers flowing to the sea. However, some minerals discharged in the course of the mining can cause problems, such as copper, a common industrial pollutant, which can interfere with the life history and development of coral polyps. Polluted runoff from roads and highways can be a significant source of water pollution in coastal areas.

Ships can pollute waterways and oceans in many ways. Oil spills can have devastating effects. While being toxic to marine life, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), found in crude oil, are very difficult to clean up, and last for years in the sediment and marine environment.

  • Direct discharge
  • Ship pollution
  • Atmospheric pollution
  • Deep sea mining

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