34_pollution.Nov.19.2007 - Pollution EAS 154 Oceanography...

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1 Pollution EAS 154 – Oceanography Bob Howarth Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology November 19, 2007 Coastal oceans are heavily impacted by: Overfishing Pollution Climate change and variation These stressors interact, and relative importance of effects are difficult to tease apart. “Pollution” is something that makes water, air, or soils unclean, dirty, contaminated, or impure.
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2 “Pollution” is something that makes water, air, or soils unclean, dirty, contaminated, or impure. Many different types of water pollution: bacteria, viruses toxic substances nutrients In 1960s, massive pollution of both freshwaters and coastal marine waters in the US…. Much of the problem traceable to raw sewage and industrial waste discharges. Major impetus for the start of the “environmental movement” and the 1 st Earth Day (1970). Great progress during the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in cleaning up sewage and toxic discharges. Some problems from sewage and toxic discharges remain, but small problem in most of the US and Europe now. Massive problems remain (and are growing) in the developing world; rapidly growing urbanization. In the US, pollution of coastal waters remains a problem – diffuse, “non-point” source pollution has grown. The problems are more subtle (in the US).
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3 Endocrine disruptors (atrazine, etc.). Bio-accumulation of toxic substances, often far from the pollution source (Hg; global distillation of PCBs, with accumulation in fish and marine mammals in arctic seas). Excess growth of algae and plants (nutrients). Today: Oil pollution (1970s and 1980s). Nutrient pollution (growing problem since 1970). As of late 1960s, very little study of oil pollution effects. Emphasis on physical coating/smothering (bird feathers). Widespread belief that oil is a “natural” product, and not particularly toxic.
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4 West Falmouth (Cape Cod), MA – September 1969 Treated as an “experiment” by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst.
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This note was uploaded on 09/28/2008 for the course EAS 1540 taught by Professor Monger during the Fall '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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34_pollution.Nov.19.2007 - Pollution EAS 154 Oceanography...

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