The Assimilative Capacity of the Oceans for Wastes
It is inevitable that the compositions of ocean waters will change continuously in the future. An increasing world population with an increasing appetite for material goods and energy will product an increasing amount of waste. Modern societies do not accumulate or recycle materials -- they dispose. The discharge of the unwanted substances can take place in the ocean, on land and in the atmosphere through incineration or pyrolysis. Most of the materials will be benign and will neither interfere with life processes nor damage the environment. However, a part of the wastes is hazardous and can jeopardize the resources of the surroundings. Herein, I will present an assessment of conventional wisdom on the abilities of the oceans to accept a part of these generated wastes, the presently perceived dangers to marine resources through the promiscuous release of materials, and some strategies to effectively use the oceans as waste space. I will use data from the United States to illustrate the problems of an industrialized nation, while I will treat the problems of the developing countries in a general way.
KeywordsCoastal Water Organochlorine Pesticide Domestic Waste Assimilative Capacity Scientific Innovation
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- CON, 1984. State of the Environment. An Assessment at Mid-Decade. The Conservation Foundation. Washington, D.C., 586 pp.Google Scholar
- NOAA, 1979a. Scientific problems relating to ocean pollution. Edward D. Goldberg, Editor. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Environmental Research Laboratories. Boulder Colorado, 225 pp.Google Scholar
- NOAA, 1979b. Assimilative Capacity of U.S. Coastal Waters for Pollutants. Edward D. Goldberg, Editor. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Environmental Research Laboratories. Boulder, Colorado, 284 pp.Google Scholar
- NRC, 1984. Land, Sea, and Air Options for the Disposal of Industrial and Domestic Wastes. U.S. National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 209 pp.Google Scholar
- Scope, 1983. The Major Biogeochemical Cycles and their Interactions. Bert Bolin and Robert B. Cook, Editors. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, England, 532 pp.Google Scholar