February 17, 2011
Wider Impacts of Fertilizer and Plastic Pollution on Oceans Top This Year's Priority Issues in UNEP Year Book
"Massive amounts of phosphorus, a valuable fertilizer needed to feed a growing global population, are being lost to the oceans as result of inefficiencies in farming and a failure to recycle wastewater. Phosphorus pollution, along with other uncontrolled discharges, such as nitrogen and sewage, are linked with a rise in algal blooms which in turn harm water quality, poison fish stocks and undermine coastal tourism. In the United States alone, the costs are estimated to be running at over US$2 billion a year, indicating that globally and annually the damage may run into the tens of billion of dollars. At the same time there is also growing concern over the impact of billions of pieces of plastic, both large and small, on the health of the global marine environment. New research suggests that the plastic broken down in the oceans into small fragments — alongside pellets discharged by industry—may absorb a range of toxic chemicals linked to cancer and impacts the reproductive processes of humans and wildlife."
The UNEP Year Book 2011 - Emerging Issues In Our Global Environment