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Chemical pollution in Europe's seas: The monitoring must catch up with the science
Date:3/21/2012

According to a recent poll* of more than 10,000 citizens from ten European countries, pollution is the primary concern of the public at large among all issues that threaten the marine environment. A new position paper of the Marine Board-ESF shows that such public concern is not misplaced and is supported by scientific evidence.

About 30,000 of the chemicals currently on the EU market have a production volume higher than one tonne per year. Increasing numbers of these substances end up in rivers, estuaries and seas with potentially damaging effects on marine organisms, ecosystems and processes.

The oceans and seas are of growing strategic importance to Europe, both economically and socially. At the same time, the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems has increased markedly with chemical pollution as one of the main pressures. The latest Marine Board position paper on "Monitoring Chemical Pollution in Europe's Seas: Programmes, Practices and Priorities for research" shows that regulatory frameworks and monitoring programmes do not address the full range of potentially damaging pollutants, and completely overlook many of the 'new' pollutants which have entered use in recent years.

"The level of knowledge and awareness of the presence and potential impacts of new and emerging marine pollutants is still very limited" explains working group co-Chair Patrick Roose from Belgian Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM). Co-Chair Colin Janssen from the University of Ghent adds: "To be genuinely effective, monitoring programmes will need to be dynamic and take into account a continually expanding list of chemical pollutants, the impact that different pollutants can have on organisms, ecosystems and processes, and to attribute efforts and resources according to the perceived risk."

Marine Board Position Paper 16, "Monitoring Chemical Pollution in Europe's Seas: Programmes, Practices and Priorities for resea
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Contact: Jan-Bart Calewaert
jcalewaert@esf.org
32-059-340-170
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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