As a society, we use more than 100,000 different industrial compounds to promote health and treat disease, to grow food and to access clean water. While technological developments have improved our lives, most of these compounds end up in our oceans where they threaten marine life and human health. The practice of ocean waste disposal has had a long history and was initially believed to have minimal associated costs. However, it is now clear that although we can use the oceans for cheap waste treatment, we do this at the expense of the other key benefits we derive from the sea, notably human food supplies as well as its aesthetic value (including opportunities for recreation and tourism).
Many of the pollution problems of previous decades appear to have been solved in the developed world, or at least managed to minimise their environmental impacts. However, despite treatment being available for some waste products, a potent mixture of toxic compounds and other potentially harmful additions continue to enter the marine environment every day. So, have the problems of marine pollution really been solved or have we simply generated a suite of different and potentially more complex challenges? In Marine Pollution, the authors consider marine pollution from the perspective of the historical problems that are now successfully managed or solved, the ongoing problems and the emerging challenges that we face. These include hormone mimics, the residues from pharmaceuticals, nanometre-sized particles added to new materials, the millimetric plastics added to shampoos and cosmetics, the artificial fibres in the clothes we wear, and the noise and light pollution from our expanding industries and cities.
Marine Pollution is aimed at senior undergraduates, masters and graduate level students studying marine sciences. It will also serve as a useful reference for researchers and professionals working in the fields of environmental management, marine planning, marine environmental regulation and protection, as well as those working for government departments, environmental NGOs and marine environmental consultancies.
1: Introduction to marine pollution
3: 'Solved' problems?
4: Ongoing issues
5: Emerging problems
6: The state of seven seas
7: Regulation, monitoring and management
8: The future ocean
Professor Chris Frid is internationally renowned for his knowledge of marine ecosystem dynamics and the application of ecosystem approaches to marine management. A benthic ecologist by background Chris has been involved in marine pollution science and management since the 1980s working with industry, government agencies and international bodies to apply robust science to the challenges of managing human impacts on marine ecosystems. Chris is currently the Head of the Griffith School of Environment, one of the largest centres of multi-disciplinary environmental research and teaching in the World. Previously he was professor of marine biology at the University of Liverpool (UK) and prior to that at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where he was also the Director of the Dove Marine Laboratory.
Dr Bryony Caswell is a research fellow at Griffith University, Australia, previously a lecturer in marine biology for five years at the University of Liverpool, UK and a researcher on aquatic ecotoxicology with a focus on agrochemicals and highway runoff at the universities of Reading and London. Bryony is an interdisciplinary marine scientist who conducts research into the impacts of environmental change on contemporary and ancient marine ecosystems. She is a leading authority on the long-term impacts of hypoxia on marine benthic ecosystems. Her research into marine ecological change bridges historical and geological timescales (100s-1000s years) and is driving forward our knowledge of the long-term impacts of climate change.