Urban Interface:
Human fingerprints all over ...

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Man's interface with the oceans can easily be categorized as negative - not only has he taken indiscriminately from the ocean for raw materials, food and transport, but has given back only pollutants and other dangerous toxins as waste back to the oceans. The fingerprints have been dusted. The evidence is clear -

(The term "Urban" as used here includes urban consumption and lifestyles, urban population densities, urban industries and businesses and urban transport - which have a direct or indirect effect on the oceans)

    Consider these facts:
    Few of us get to see that a scallop dredge or shrimp trawl is to the sea what a bulldozer is to a forest full of life
    - TIME Magazine
  • Three out of five persons in the world live within 60 kilometers of an ocean
  • One-fourth to one-third of gross domestic products of many countries is produced in coastal areas through fishing, transportation, recreation and related industries.
  • In the US alone, one out of six jobs is marine related; 95% of foreign trade passes through ports and harbors in ships.
  • The world's fisheries are in crisis. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), virtually every commercial fish species in every ocean and sea is "over exploited," "fully-exploited," or "depleted." Stocks in four of the world's 17 major fishing regions are seriously depleted, while catches in nine others are declining. At its 1993 Committee on Fisheries meeting, the FAO warned that fish production from most of the world's fisheries has reached or exceeded the levels at which fish stocks can regenerate themselves.
  • Marine biological diversity is slowly being destroyed as a result of - 1) overexploitation of species, 2) physical alteration of ecosystems, 3) pollution, 4) alien species from distant waters disrupting local food webs and 5) global atmospheric change.
  • Nearly six billion of us are putting pressures on the natural orders that sustains us. The life-support functions of earth's oceans are burdened with oily ballast and other wastes dumped overboard from millions of motorized vessels and pollution flowing from land and air to the sea, along with millions of tons of of hard thrash. Oil spills are among the most obvious forms of pollution, but attention is shifting to less visible contaminants, especially the flow of excess fertilizer and other chemicals that are applied to crops, lawns, golf courses, fields and parks,
  • 80 percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from land-based sources, such as runoff pollution. Runoff pollution includes many small sources, like septic tanks, cars, trucks and boats, plus larger sources, such as farms, ranches and forest areas. Millions of motor vehicle engines make daily, one-drop-at-a-time "oil spills" onto roads and parking lots, which add significantly to runoff pollution. Some water pollution actually starts as air pollution, which settles into waterways and oceans. Dirt can be a pollutant. Top soil or silt from fields or construction sites can run off into waterways, harming fish and wildlife habitats.

    Also see:

  • Key dimensions of human-ocean interaction
  • Comparing Marine Fishing Industries
  • Sources and Effects of Marine Pollution

  • "Cities and Oceans" - Jeremy Harris

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