Although current understanding of the sources, fate and impacts of many contaminants are now well-known and regulated by national and international bodies and conventions, a number remain problematic. Some are produced in very large quantities (e.g. nutrients, detergents, oil) and others are persistent in the environment (e.g. radioactivity and plastics). All are known threats that have either been ignored, took time to manifest, or have been challenging to manage. For most of these pollutants, regulations exist but changes in the nature (e.g. microplastics) or scale (e.g. increased use of fertilisers, increased livestock culture and sewage production, and changes in energy consumption as the global population grows) may mean existing regulation or management is in some way deficient. For others, (e.g. radioactivity, plastics and threats to biosecurity such as non-native invasive species introductions) the challenges associated with regulation and management are yet to be solved.
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