How our wastewater attacks the oceans


When we talk about the degradation of coastlines, we of course think of green algae, a sometimes dramatic consequence of pollution from nitrates of agricultural origin. But coastal pollution does not come only from agriculture: our wastewater is also responsible for the degradation of coastal ecosystems. In a study that appears in the journal PLOS One, a team of Californian scientists is now taking stock of their impact, particularly on seagrass meadows and coral reefs.

“Coastal marine ecosystems face a host of pressures from human activities of both offshore and terrestrial origins”, but scientific research on these questions “Mainly focused on agricultural discharges, in particular showing how fertilizers and livestock droppings create coastal eutrophication, toxic algal blooms or hypoxic or anoxic areas” (places where there is either too much or not enough oxygen) observe Cascade Tuholske and his colleagues at the University of California-Santa Barbara. But, they point out, “Few studies have assessed the impacts of human wastewater on coastal ecosystems and on the health of communities” who live in these environments.

Sewer damage

“These impacts do not only harm coastal species and ecosystems but also harm human health and economic activities”, they assure. These researchers are

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