Sea and ocean pollution

The use of seawater and the exploitation of marine resources may cause serious damages unless they are carried out in a way that guarantees its sustainable use, i.e. that guarantees compatibility between the marine ecosystems and man’s activities. Unfortunately, in many cases, since the antiquity the sea has been wrongly considered as a huge dumping ground in which all waste and dirt could be freely thrown. And it is still considered as such by poorly educated summer tourists, especially those who use sailing or motorboats and throw all their waste into it.
Today, the main causes of pollution in the seas and oceans can be:

  • pollutants from human activities discharged into the rivers and carried to the sea (degradable and non-degradable organic materials from urban waste, organic products of agricultural origin, such as plant chemicals and fertilisers, pollutants from industrial waste);
  • oil spilled  by oil tankers, following accidents or improper practices when cleaning tanks or discharging ballast water;
  • radioactive substances: released during nuclear tests, by now stopped in all countries, and when producing atomic fuels;
  • overheating of coastal waters, due to hot water coming from industrial cooling plants;
  • excessive exploitation of fishing resources (too much fishing), that causes the fishing populations to decrease or even disappear;
  • uncontrolled urban development along the coasts and uncontrolled and massive seaside tourism;
  • discharge of nuclear and toxic waste;
  • discharge of plastic containers and other non-biodegradable solid waste.

 

Special reports

  • 15 April 2014

    How rich are we …. in blue gold?

    Water footprint, water availability and use on a planetary scale...

    26 February 2014

    How much water is on your plate?

    Water footprint and water consumption...

    10 February 2020

    Coral turns pale!

    The coral reef is one of the ecosystems with the richest biodiversity...

  • 13 May 2018

    Small steps, great footprints

    Have you ever wondered how much space is taken up by an apple or a steak?...

    7 October 2021

    Water grabbing

    “Clear, sweet fresh water,” wrote Petrarch, by many considered a precursor of Italian literature. Before him, St. Francis dedicated two…

    17 May 2021

    Lost ice

    According to a study conducted by a French and Swiss research team recently published in the leading journal Nature, continental…

  • 15 April 2021

    Oceans of plastic

    The invisible invasion of microplastics...

    26 December 2019

    Life in Antarctica

    How is it possible to live and work in Antarctica...

    10 December 2019

    In the fridge of the world

    Antarctica is a continent with a very particular charm...

  • 15 April 2014

    How rich are we …. in blue gold?

    Water footprint, water availability and use on a planetary scale...

    26 February 2014

    How much water is on your plate?

    Water footprint and water consumption...

  • 10 February 2020

    Coral turns pale!

    The coral reef is one of the ecosystems with the richest biodiversity...

    13 May 2018

    Small steps, great footprints

    Have you ever wondered how much space is taken up by an apple or a steak?...

  • 7 October 2021

    Water grabbing

    “Clear, sweet fresh water,” wrote Petrarch, by many considered a precursor of Italian literature. Before him, St. Francis dedicated two…

    17 May 2021

    Lost ice

    According to a study conducted by a French and Swiss research team recently published in the leading journal Nature, continental…

From the Multimedia section

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    Map of water scarcity

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    Availability of water resources

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    Algae proliferation

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    Water and man

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    Water and sustainability

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  • air

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    Algae living in heavily polluted

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    air

    Desertification

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  • water

    Map of water scarcity

    Look

    water

    Availability of water resources

    Look
  • life

    Algae proliferation

    Look

    water

    Water and man

    Listen
  • water

    Water and sustainability

    Listen

    water

    Components of the water footprint

    Look
  • water

    Map of water scarcity

    Look
  • water

    Availability of water resources

    Look
  • life

    Algae proliferation

    Look

Facts

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    13 May 2011

    Niño and Niña

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