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International Conference on Climate Change Global Warming

Berlin, Germany
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Land based pollution sources and marine environmental quality in the Caribbean

Author(s): Singh NC, Ward RE

Abstract

The near shore coastal and marine environment of several Caribbean islands is their most biologically productive and economically important zone. However, almost all landbased activities possess the real potential of degrading the quality of near shore waters and ultimately diminishing the utility of the marine resource. This condition is largely attributed to the individual smallness of the islands and their geographic proximity to each other.

Available sanitary water quality data from across the region indicated that while recreational areas are in general safe for water contact activities, bacterial densities in excess of several international criteria are consistently recorded in harbours. Organochlorine pesticide residues were generally in the 5 ng l−1 range in unfiltered sea water but were significantly higher (1–100) ng g−1 in limited samples of sediment and biota. Additional data requirements to gain further insight into the current state of the Caribbean environment are also identified.

A summary of the major land based sources of marine pollution (including sewage, industrial effluents and agricultural run-off) in the insular Caribbean is presented.

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