Land-based pollution (waste, sewage water, coastal development activities, inland activities…)

1. 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based sources.

2. In many developing countries 90% of waste water and 70% of industrial waste is discharged without treatment.

3. 6.5 million tons of litter enter the world’s Ocean each year. 50% is long-lasting plastic that will drift for hundreds of years before it is degraded.

4. More than 100,000 chemicals are produced commercially. They represent a threat for oceans through accidents or transport. They can also be emitted in the atmosphere, the soil or the water and reach the oceans.

5. In 2001, 77 ‘red tide’ events (toxic algal blooms) affected 15,000 km2 offshore waters of China. Major eutrophication (algal bloom linked to an important input of fertilizers) occurred also in estuaries and coastal areas of the Philippines and Thailand.

6. In the USA diffuse inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution have increased, causing eutrophication, harmful algal blooms, dead zones, coral reef destruction, loss of sea-grass and kelp beds, fish kills, shellfish poisoning and seabird and marine mammal deaths. Around 60 per cent of coastal rivers and bays are severely degraded.

7. There are 200 known ‘dead zones’, or areas deprived of oxygen and devoid of life (area between 1 and 70,000 km²) in the world ocean: this number has doubled every decade since 1960.

Sources

N°1; 2: World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002 – A Guide to Oceans, Coasts and Islands
N°3: Marine litter – an analytical overview – UNEP 2005
N°4: GESAMP(Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection) Report 70 – A sea of trouble, 2001
N°5; 6: UNEP/GPA 2006 –The State of the Marine Environment – Trends and processes
N°7: MSNBC.com

Pollution from activities at sea (shipping, fishing, oil or gas offshore production…)

8. 90 % of world international trade tonnage is transported by ship.

9. There are 6,000 offshore oil and gas installations in operation worldwide that provide about 25 to 30 per cent of the world’s energy supply.

10. More than 50% of packaged goods and bulk cargoes transported by sea today can be regarded as dangerous or hazardous from safety standpoint or harmful to the environment according to the criteria set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

11. Around 70 per cent of litter entering the Ocean lands on the seabed (it sinks to the bottom and is found both in shallow coastal areas and in much deeper parts of seas and oceans), 15 per cent on beaches and 15 per cent remains floating on the surface.

12. 12 billion tons of ballast waters containing, at any one time, 3,000 marine species are shipped around the world spreading alien and invasive species.

13. The Baltic sea area is known to host about one hundred aquatic alien species.

Sources

N°8; 9; 12: World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002 – A Guide to Oceans, Coasts and Islands
N° 10: UN Ocean Atlas
N°11: UNEP/GPA 2006 –The State of the Marine Environment – Trends and processes
N° 13: Europe Environmental Agency – Europe’s biodiversity – The Baltic Sea – 2002 –

Impacts of Ocean pollution

14. Human health suffers from contamination of coastal water: 250 million of clinical cases (gastro-enteritis + respiratory diseases) are caused annually by bathing in contaminated waters.

15. One in 20 adults bathing in water deemed officially “acceptable” (according to current microbial standards) will become ill after a single marine bathing exposure.

16. Eating infected shellfish causes 50,000 to 100,000 deaths every year.

17. POPs (Persistant Organic Pollutants) concentrate in the food chain (shellfish, fish, marine mammals). Many of the fish that is a primary food source for the indigenous people in the Canadian arctic are heavily contaminated by POPs. High concentrations of pollutants have been found in breast milk of mothers. In East Greenland, 100 per cent of the population has levels of blood contamination of concern.

18. The global economic cost related to pollution of coastal waters is $16 billion annually, much of which is due to human health impacts.

19. Worldwide, 100,000 marine mammals and turtles are killed annually by plastic litter. According to estimates, 267 marine species have been reported entangled in or having ingested marine debris.

20. Harmful algal blooms: the number of poisonous algal species identified by scientists has nearly tripled since 1984, increasing fish kills, beach closures, and economic losses.

21. Repairing boats damaged by marine debris is expensive. Fixing a small dent in a large vessel can take up to 2 days, costing the shipping company $100,000 for repair and additional $30,000-40,000 per day in lost carrying fees.

22. Documented economic losses caused by accidental or deliberate introductions of non-indigenous species in the Ocean amount to hundreds of millions of US dollars.

Sources

N°14: World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002 – A Guide to Oceans, Coasts and Islands
N°15; 22: GESAMP (Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection) Report 71 – Protecting the Oceans from Land-based Activities-2001
N°16: UNEP GPA – Pollution from the land 2001- Global Plan of Action brochure
N°17: UNEP/GPA 2006 –The State of the Marine Environment – Trends and processes
N°18: UNEP – Marine and coastal Ecosystems and Human Well-Being – Report Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
N°19; 21: US Environmental Protection Agency
N°20: FAO newsroom