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Marine Pollution$
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Christopher L. J. Frid and Bryony A. Caswell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198726289

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198726289.001.0001

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Introduction to marine pollution

Introduction to marine pollution

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction to marine pollution
Marine Pollution

Christopher L. J. Frid

Bryony A. Caswell

Oxford University Press

It is universally agreed that pollution is a bad thing but quite what is meant by this is not clear. This chapter considers the formal definition of the word and distinguishes pollution, which has an impact on the environment and human activities, from contamination, which is merely the presence of substances at raised concentrations. It examines the history of marine pollution and how this has stimulated science, technical developments to treat wastes and the regulation and management of potentially polluting activities. Humankind has been putting waste into the sea for as long as people have lived at the coast. The growth of human populations increased the scale of the problem while industrialisation and the development of new materials have expanded the range of substances that enter the sea. Given this long history of regulation, scientific study and technical development, can marine pollution be considered a solved problem?

Keywords:   Contamination, Legislation, pollution pathways, the ‘Great Stink’, point source, diffuse source, persistent pollutant, dissipative pollutant, biodegradable, legacy contaminant

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