Davao Oriental - Gold Mine wastes on the Philippine Sea - Mindanao - Philippines © Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Marine pollution is the result of products being thrown into seas and oceans, mostly by mankind:
1.domestic waste (sewage and rubbish, pollutants in runoff water...),
2.industrial waste (hydrocarbons, metals, synthetic chemical and organic substances, radionuclides...)
3.and agricultural waste (fertilisers, pesticides...).
This includes water pollution and marine sediments, and more generally all damage to marine ecosystems caused by harmful substances being discharged into the sea, either by their nature or their quantity.
Between 75 and 80% of marine pollution is caused by land, particularly agriculture. 30% of this is from the atmosphere. Around 12% of the pollution is caused by maritime transport.
• In South America, 98% of domestic wastewater ends up, untreated, in the sea.
• The countries along the Mediterranean Sea throw 50 million tons of waste into it every year
• the Chinese throw 60 million tons of waste into the Yellow sea daily.
Over half of the hydrocarbon discharge comes from continents:
5% comes from oil tanker accidents,
20% comes from waste and other ship-related accidents,
4% from sea exploitation and
11 to 15% is due to natural causes.
Accidental pollution through hydrocarbon is significantly decreasing and only represents a small percentage of waste through degassing estimated at between 1.5 and 3 million tons of oil a year.
In 2003, according to the WWF, between 0.7 and 1.3 million tons of oil were spread by degassing in the Mediterranean. According to the Ifremer (the French Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), coastal water pollution cost the world economy almost 12.8 billion dollars in 2006.
Fragile coastal areas
Most of the pollution comes from continents and is carried by rivers and winds. It is concentrated in coastal waters which provide water for 99% of total fish...