Royal Society of Chemistry

Ocean plastics: environmental implications and potential routes for mitigation – a perspective

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First published on 17th June 2021

This review provides a current summary of the major sources and distribution of ocean plastic contamination, their potential environmental effects, and prospects towards the mitigation of plastic pollution. A characterization between micro and macro plastics has been established, along with a comprehensive discussion of the most common plastic waste sources that end up in aquatic environments within these categories. Distribution of these sources stems mainly from improper waste management, road runoff, and wastewater pathways, along with potential routes of prevention. The environmental impact of ocean plastics is not yet fully understood, and as such, current research on the potential adverse health effects and impact on marine habitats has been discussed. With increasing environmental damage and economic losses estimated at $US 1.5 trillion, the challenge of ocean plastics needs to be at the forefront of political and societal discussions. Efforts to increase the feasibility of collected ocean plastics through value-added commercial products and development of an international supply chain has been explored. An integrative, global approach towards addressing the growing ocean plastic problem has been presented.

1. Introduction

Some of the challenges of ocean plastic pollution can be addressed via environmental protection mechanisms like governmental legislation, 3 infrastructure development, and ramped up collection efforts. 4 As a global community, the collection of ocean waste would offer benefits to the environment by saving the health and lives of aquatic life as well as benefit society by leading to cleaner water systems. There are also potential economic benefits from fabricating up-cycled ocean plastics. The mass accumulation of nested plastics within the ocean is dependent on ocean currents and where the waste enters water systems. 5 The next step in addressing the accumulated waste depends on collection effects and incentive for recycled oceanic plastics. Ocean plastics create considerable detriment in all oceanic levels, as plastics denser than water are accumulating rapidly at the bottom of the ocean floor and less dense polymers at the surface or shorelines. Special action is required to prevent accumulating plastics on the ocean floor as collection efforts are strenuous and economically unfeasible with current technology.

One method to improve interest in the collection of ocean waste is the potential economic viability for the plastics. A strategy to add value to such wastes is through a process called upcycling. Upcycling is a method of recycling plastics, which are then blended with other materials to generate novel, value-added products. The upcycling and recycling of ocean plastics contributes to a circular economic approach for sustainable product development where waste materials are given new life. This generates new economic value, but also helps to reduce the environmental burden of ocean plastics. 6

A challenge with the implementation of recycled polymers is the loss in mechanical performance, structural integrity and/or thermal stability of the obtained materials. 7 Polymer chains can change and result in degradation in a variety of ways, including submersion of plastics in water for extended periods of time, UV radiation from direct sunlight, and the salinity of the ocean water. 8 The additives in the plastics also result in challenges with polymer processing or potential discoloration. To combat the effects of degradation, research has often combined compatibilizing agents with plastics to repair molecular chains and improve performances. 9 Such strategies are being implemented with recycled ocean plastics and will likely continue if the goal is to upcycle oceanic plastics. As a result, upcycled ocean plastics come at a price premium and are of lower quality to virgin plastics. Plastic collection in oceanic environments is also a costly and time-consuming process with limited volume potential when compared to the volume of accumulated plastic waste.

Plastics collected from oceanic waste can be used in various processing methods, such as injection molding or three-dimensional (3D) printing. 10 The recycled or upcycled materials could be used to generate value-added consumer products. There are many companies and non-profit organizations and academic institutions taking interest in such efforts. The hope is to develop products that align with a circular economic approach by resource retention, valorization, increased economic viability and sustainable product design. 6,11

Plastics can be removed from aquatic environments through manual collection efforts 12 and engineering designs. 13 Some plastics with limited integrity are considered waste plastics as there is no opportunity to recycle or valorize for use in polymer applications. On the contrary, some plastics can be recycled and used to generate new value-added products. The challenges with these two types of materials is the requirement of collection and treatment options, as well as subsequent sorting if collected. Limited infrastructure and technology are feasible or viable to sort all collected oceanic plastic wastes. 14

In addition to environmental destruction, microplastic accumulation, and limited collection or prevention efforts for oceanic plastics; some of the materials are quite resilient and may persist in the environment for thousands of years. 15 Researchers have estimated half-lives for some plastics in marine environments, where half-life refers to the conversion of the first 50 wt% of the polymers mass. Excluding the effects of heat or UV radiation, high density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles have an estimated half-life of 23 to >2500 years; whereas HDPE pipes had an estimated half-life of 400 to >2500 years. Other plastics, like low density polyethylene (LDPE) bags had estimated half-lives of 1.4 to >2500 years. Fortunately, biodegradable plastic bags were suggested to have an improved half-life of 1.7 to 6.7 years. 16 This review serves to summarize the most common sources of plastic pollution, their distribution routes into aquatic environments and potential societal and environmental impacts as a result of this. A focus on potential solutions to the ocean plastic crisis has been included, with the overall content of this review summarized in Fig. 2 . The green arrows highlight where the impacts of oceanic plastics can be reduced and where there is potential for valorization of said wastes. The red arrows indicate the sources and negative impacts of oceanic plastics.

2. Sources of ocean contamination

2.1. macroplastics.

These plastics have a damaging impact on marine ecosystems through the entanglement of and ingestion by marine life, and their buoyant nature allows them to float on the surface. Materials that float on the surface are those which possess a density less than or equal to that of water. Anything of greater density will sink to the ocean floor. However, studies have found that the ocean floor is the ultimate sink for a variety of marine debris and makes collection a serious challenge. 26 Additionally, plastic pollution has a serious economic impact, with an estimated annual US$ 0.5 to 2.5 trillion loss via reductions in the oceans ability to provide oxygen, clean water, resources, seafood, cultural and recreational value, and regulation of the climate. 27 Estimates in 2015 quote a global amount of mismanaged plastic waste at 80 million metric tonnes, and if current practices remain the same, this stands to triple by 2060 due to growing demand for plastic products according to research conducted by Lebreton and Andrady. 28

2.2. Microplastics

The majority of microplastic releases occur through normal product use, followed by product maintenance, and minor contributions via production and transformation of the plastic, with corresponding percentages of 63, 36, and 1%, respectively. Of this, 77% comes from household use and only 23% from industrial activities. 32 The majority of microplastic release is unintentional, apart from personal care products. Plastic microbeads (typically made of polyolefins, such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), and polyamide (PA)) are commonly utilized as a scrubbing agent in cosmetics and personal care products, and are directly released into wastewater streams through regular product use. 33 This can clearly be observed through the comparison of annual consumption and projected ocean release of this microplastic source. Other large contributors to ocean microplastic waste include synthetic textiles, tires, and dust sources due to abrasion and weathering. 34 Polymer-based textiles are abraded during washing and result in sewer discharge of microplastic particulates. Car tires are another major source, as the tire surface is composed of natural rubber and synthetic polymers (styrene-butadiene rubber and other additives) that are degraded through constant abrasion and enter waste pathways through runoff. 35 Dust sources cover many inputs that individually contribute minor amounts of microplastic pollution but grouped together become significant.

Microplastics possess a significant risk to aquatic life since these plastics can not only float but also sink to the ocean floor, increasing the area in which is contaminated with plastics. 36 Furthermore, due to their small size they are considered available for consumption by organisms and can lead to bioaccumulation. This is made worse by the fact that their composition and relatively high surface area leads to leaching of toxic plasticizers and adhesion to organic pollutants. 31 Unless waste management systems and microplastic sources are overhauled and revised, future predictions by Wijnen et al. 37 estimate that microplastic waste could increase by as much as 51% by 2050.

Researchers studied the effects of light on some plastics using a solar simulator. Samples were irradiated with simulated sunlight for two months to measure plastic scission mechanisms. The results showed that a major byproduct of plastic photodegradation was dissolved organic carbon microplastics, which had also undergone discoloration. Using linear extrapolation in this study, they were able to predict sample weight loss and calculate their corresponding lifetime. FTIR results showed that the buoyant North Pacific Gyre (NPG) fragment samples contain 67, 16, 15, 1.4 and 0.86% of PE, PP, ethylene–propylene copolymer, polyurethane and ethylene–vinyl acetate copolymer, respectively. The shortest lifetime after irradiation in a solar simulator system was a sample taken from the NPG (2.8 years), followed by postconsumer PP (4.3 years) and PE (33 years). 39 Despite NPG containing 67% PE, its extrapolated lifetime of 2.8 years is significantly lower than postconsumer PE at 33 years, showing the influence of aquatic ecosystems on plastic fragments.

In contrast with primary microplastics, secondary microplastics have random shapes, which hinders their categorization when recovered. Fragmentation of microplastics can occur as a result of ultraviolet rays from the sun, starting photodegradation of the macromolecule chains and resulting in discoloration, increased brittleness and a reduction in the average molecular weight ( M w ) of the plastic material. Color can be an indicator of the degree of degradation, as yellowed PE and PP plastics have been found to have an increased amount of polar functional groups, and thus a higher affinity for certain chemical pollutants. 40 This yellowing arises from oxidation of phenolic antioxidant agents to quinoidal structures characterized by a yellow colour shift, giving them a greater ability to absorb PCBs. It is further notable that pigmentation itself has no correlation to the degree of degradation.

3. Environmental impacts of ocean plastics

The ingestion of ocean plastics by aquatic life is of great concern due to the host of effects they can have, and their potential unseen long-term effects. The size of microplastics leads to aquatic life, birds, and other mammals confusing the particles as food, such as plankton. 44 The ingestion of plastics can lead to immediate effects, such as intestinal blockages or organ puncture. However, they have been observed to have other long-term effects, such as sex determination in some organisms, or nervous system damage in others. 45 In addition to this, plastics can contain harmful compounds and absorb pollutants present in the ocean, which can have adverse effects on organisms once ingested. These health effects range from organ damage, reproductive changes, greater susceptibility to disease, and other potentially unknown long-term effects. 46

Studies have begun to analyze the effect of microplastics on humans, as bioaccumulation up the food chain leads to their consumption. In a study performed in Newcastle, Australia, it was estimated that every week humans ingest an average of 5 grams of plastic. 47 The study reveals that the route of plastic consumption is through food, beverages and inhalation. Weekly drinking water intake can lead to the ingestion of 1769 particles, and found to end up in the digestive system. 47 In another study, the concentration of microplastics from various sources were characterized, with seafood having 1.48 microplastics per gram (MPs per g), bottled water having 94.37 MPs per L, tap water with 4.23 MPs per L and air having 9.90 MPs per m 3 . 48 Microplastic concentrations are variable depending on the source, but water, air and seafood are the main contributors towards the ingestion of microplastics.

Additives are used in plastics for many reasons including, but not limited to, improved processability, enhanced barrier properties to increase product shelf life, UV stabilizers or colorants. Additives, such as tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) may lead to toxic effects on flora and fauna, threatening the aquatic food chain and inevitably reaching humans. 46 Other additives that have a significant impact on health are UV stabilizers, which are used in plastics to prevent degradation. The most common of these is benzotriazole, which has caught the attention of researchers due to its presence in polluted rivers and lakes. 49 Similar to flame retardants, UV stabilizers tend to bioaccumulate and are associated with endocrine disruption and thyroid gland alterations, which are in charge of the development of reproductive organs. 50 The key consideration here is that stabilizers are compounded into plastics at low concentrations between 1 to 5 weight percentage (wt%); however, their widespread use in many plastics makes this an issue.

4. Distribution of plastics into marine environments

4.1. road runoff pathways, 4.2. plastics from wastewater pathways, 4.3. improper waste management.

There are many obstacles that need to be overcome in terms of improving global recycling, as in many instances reclamation of plastic material is not an economically viable option due to the low price of virgin polymers compared to recycled plastics. Furthermore, due to the wide variety of available plastics and variable quality of the product after use, advanced processing technology and an in-depth knowledge is required to avoid defects and produce a high-quality plastic product. 65 Another issue is that many plastic products are not recyclable, or of a composite nature with unrecyclable components. PVC is difficult to recycle and often incinerated, while difficulty in depolymerization of polyolefins limits their ability to be chemically recycled. The only closed-loop recyclable plastics are condensation polymers such as polyesters ( e.g. PET) and polyamides ( e.g. nylon 6). 66 Improvement of recycling infrastructure is thus of great importance, as it contributes to a circular economy and hence diminishes ‘new’ plastic in circulation, as well as reduces plastic that could otherwise be improperly disposed of. These findings indicate that the development of waste management infrastructure is an essential component towards the reduction of plastic pollution, especially in middle-income countries. Moreover, there are efforts to improve recycling technology by designing packaging for recycling, reducing use of multilayers, diminishing pigments and additives, reducing dependence on single-use and disposable plastics, and changing overall community's habits. 67

5. Applications of ocean plastics

5.1. upcycling of ocean waste.

The activism conducted by these industries serve to motivate other industries to incorporate ocean plastic waste in their products. However, the success of these products requires a design plan for the collection and sorting of various types of plastic, as well as consumer willingness to purchase products that may be of lower quality or contaminated. 83 A recent survey in the Netherlands showed that 59% of random consumers had the potential to pay a price premium for products made from ocean plastics. 84 Initiatives such as these serve to increase awareness in the average consumer regarding the issue of ocean plastics in the hopes of changing mindsets, but by no means are a standalone solution to the problem as a whole due to the volume of ocean plastic waste and long-term economic cost. It is the hope that upcycling of ocean waste will instead serve to encourage industries to reuse and recycle plastic at the source instead of using virgin polymer due to pressures of brand perception regarding waste.

The traditional methods used for plastic waste management include incineration, as well as recycling via mechanical methods (downcycling), which leads to lower-value products compared to their originals (8% cascaded recycling according to MacArthur Foundation study 2016), 63 with insufficient energy recovered. 85 This suggests there is a limited number of time plastics can be recycled. There are efforts being made to improve the recyclability through chemical methods. Chemical recycling in the presence of a catalyst may require less energy but is not yet applied on a large scale, giving it potential to open the door for the production of high-quality plastics through recycling. 86 Chemical recycling has been made as an alternative to less favorable mechanical recycling processes. However, the recycling and recovery processes are extremely low currently due to inefficiency of mechanical recycling, higher costs of recycling and lower product quality. Improvements to mechanical recycling require the development of sensors and robotics that can do a much better job at sorting. The challenge is that such systems require investment and infrastructure to do so. Europe has addressed some of the challenges with mechanical sorting by sorting household plastics into nearly 13 categories as compared to only 6 in Canada and the USA. An additional alternative to both mechanical and chemical recycling is to upcycle plastics, which includes valorization of the plastics into value-added applications. For materials where material recovery is not feasible, such as highly degraded ocean plastics, energy recovery methods like incineration are desirable for their ability to reduce waste mass and volume, as well as eliminating possibilities of waste putrefaction. Overall, integrated waste management systems that incorporate material recovery through recycling, thermal treatments, and biological treatments show the greatest promise for addressing concerns with plastic waste.

5.2. Challenges in product manufacturing

The mixing of a variety of ocean plastics often leads to a gray resin that is undesirable for consumer products, as discovered by the company Method during development of soap bottles with 10 wt% HDPE beach waste. 77 As colorants are limited by processing, formulation, and stability issues of the matrix and the colorant itself; this can pose another challenge for the development of ocean-based commercial products. 87 There have also been studies looking into the economic feasibility of ocean plastics, as the additional collection and repurposing inevitably leads to a price premium for ocean-plastic products. Furthermore, perceived product contamination and functionality of recycled ocean plastic has a direct consequence on consumer demand, meaning that the fabricated products must be of a similar high quality to virgin polymers to be economically feasible. 84

5.3. Use of ocean-bound waste

Elimination of plastic waste directly at the source through proper waste management is often cited as the most viable route to ocean restoration. 88 This requires an integrated system, with a focus on plastic life-cycle improvements and the four-R's hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle, recover) through government initiatives, consumer education, and infrastructure improvements. 88 There have been recent efforts put forth to encourage companies to utilize recycled plastic materials and contribute to a circular economy, and consumer evaluations indicate a willingness to pay a price premium for recycled ocean plastic products that are of similar quality to virgin polymers. 84 In Taiwan, waste disposal rates were reduced from 0.9 to 0.48 kg per capita through governmental policies that enforced waste sorting and banned plastic bags and tableware, with similar results seen recently in local Australian councils. 88 Implementation of proper collection systems in at-risk populations, while promising, is a long-term goal and is currently unfeasible for developing countries due to its complexity and expensive nature.

6. Development of a supply chain

Collection of plastics prior to their entrance into the ocean is highly desirable due to the various issues found for ocean plastic manufacturing, including degradation, lengthy and expensive collection endeavors, and colorant issues. Thus, improving existing supply chains for recycling of post-consumer plastics to prevent their entry into aquatic ecosystems presents itself as an ideal route of mitigation. As such, there has been initiatives to make ocean-bound plastic products more feasible through development of a global supply chain, including waste management improvements in at-risk populations, material storage, and product development. In Haiti, HP has developed a bottle collection program in collaboration with the First Mile Coalition, which offers education to the children of plastic collectors. Envision Plastics, a HDPE plastic recycler, committed to the collection and recycling of 10 million lb of HDPE from at-risk communities to bring comfort to brands that have interest in creating sustainable products, as well as lowering the cost of ocean-bound plastics. 90 In 2017, through a partnership between Dell and the nonprofit organization Lonely Whale, NextWave Plastics was cofounded, which is a consortium of companies that seek to keep plastics out of our oceans. 92 This consortium now consists of ten companies with collection efforts in Chile, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cameroon, and Denmark. 89 Substantial product development has already occurred, with Envision Plastics launching the first commercial product with 100% ocean-bound plastic content in 2018. 90 Further, the automotive supplier DSM has recently developed a recycle-based polyamide named Akulon RePurposed from discarded fishing nets. 93 However, further development and strengthening of this plastic supply chain is required to bring value-added uses to plastic collected in at-risk areas.

7. The future of plastics

A shift away from the linear economy model is needed to address the issue of increasing plastic waste. This model includes the extraction of resources required to produce commercial plastics and products, distribution and then consumption, which end up in the natural environment (such as oceans) or landfills as a waste material. 105 Around 95% of all packaging plastic is lost per year (equal to $80–120 billion) and consequently damages the marine environment by around $13 billion per year, which significantly contributes to the plastic waste crisis. 106 On the other hand, the circular economy model is based on decreasing plastic waste through new manufacturing designs, product retention and the reuse of waste material. Shifting away from a linear economy requires a shift in the government's laws and approach from the consumers. Circular economy concepts help the environment by dropping green house gas emissions that arise during a products life cycle, reducing reliance on raw materials, as well as minimizing waste plastic going to landfills. Plastic manufacturing methods must shift towards designing long-lasting reusable materials through renewable feedstocks, as well as decreasing cycle losses by upcycling waste plastic. 106 An even better model, being that of a circular bio-economy, consists of the conversion of biomass waste and renewable resources into value-added products. This can be achieved through replacement of fossil fuel based plastics with biobased plastics, adoption of renewable energy, increased recycling and decreasing plastic demand. 107

8. Conclusions and recommendations

This integrative approach calls for a more complete understanding on the effect of plastic pollution on aquatic life and marine ecosystems. Plastic waste must be reduced at the source to prevent leakage, which requires innovation in recycling system management, as well as end-of-life treatments for both biodegradable and non-biodegradable plastics. In addition to this, policies should be set into place to reduce and control the negative aspects of plastic production, control their usage, and improve waste management. It is critical that our plastic dependency is reduced through efforts to ban or limit the use of disposable plastics through governmental policies, as is already being adopted in many countries. Key plastic manufacturers must also be held more responsible for the handling, collection, and reuse of their plastic products after use, as well as funding development of alternatives to non-degradable plastics. One option would be to create programs where producers of single-use plastics are responsible to take back their materials and find appropriate waste management strategies. Waste management and recycling infrastructure must be improved, especially in developing countries where the issue is greatest, through the establishment of an international aid program. The demand for renewable plastics could be increased through governmental taxes or fees on petroleum-based pollution plastics. Addressing the ocean plastic problem is a global effort, and one that must be addressed immediately to protect not only marine ecosystems, but the whole planet.

Conflicts of interest


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Water Pollution Research Paper Topics

This comprehensive guide to water pollution research paper topics is designed to provide students studying environmental science with a wealth of options for their research papers. The guide offers a broad array of topics, divided into ten categories, each containing ten unique research topics. Additionally, the guide provides expert advice on how to choose a topic from the multitude of water pollution research paper topics and how to write a compelling research paper on water pollution. The guide also introduces iResearchNet’s writing services, which offer students the opportunity to order a custom water pollution research paper on any topic. The services boast a range of features designed to ensure the delivery of high-quality, custom-written papers.

100 Water Pollution Research Paper Topics

Water pollution is a vast and complex issue, making it a rich subject for research. The following list of water pollution research paper topics is divided into ten categories, each containing ten unique topics. This comprehensive list is designed to inspire and guide you in your quest for knowledge and understanding of water pollution.

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Causes of Water Pollution

  • Industrial waste and water pollution.
  • Agricultural runoff and water pollution.
  • Household waste and water pollution.
  • Oil spills and water pollution.
  • Mining and water pollution.
  • Deforestation and water pollution.
  • Urban development and water pollution.
  • Climate change and water pollution.
  • Plastic waste and water pollution.
  • Radioactive waste and water pollution.

Effects of Water Pollution

  • Water pollution and human health.
  • Water pollution and aquatic ecosystems.
  • Water pollution and biodiversity.
  • Water pollution and food security.
  • Water pollution and climate change.
  • Water pollution and economic development.
  • Water pollution and social inequality.
  • Water pollution and tourism.
  • Water pollution and natural disasters.
  • Water pollution and future generations.

Water Pollution Solutions

  • Water treatment technologies.
  • Waste management strategies.
  • Policy interventions for water pollution.
  • Public awareness and education.
  • Corporate social responsibility and water pollution.
  • Sustainable agriculture practices.
  • Green technology and water pollution.
  • International cooperation on water pollution.
  • Community-led initiatives for clean water.
  • Innovation and research in water pollution control.

Water Pollution Policies

  • The Clean Water Act.
  • The Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • The role of the EPA in water pollution control.
  • Water pollution laws in developing countries.
  • International laws and treaties on water pollution.
  • The effectiveness of water pollution policies.
  • Challenges in enforcing water pollution laws.
  • Policy gaps in water pollution control.
  • The role of local governments in water pollution control.
  • Future directions for water pollution policies.

Water Pollution Case Studies

  • The Flint water crisis.
  • The Ganges River pollution.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
  • Oil spills: The Deepwater Horizon case.
  • Eutrophication in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Microplastics in the Great Lakes.
  • Industrial pollution in the Yangtze River.
  • Agricultural runoff in the Mississippi River.
  • Radioactive pollution in Fukushima.
  • Sewage pollution in the Thames River.

Water Pollution and Public Health

  • Waterborne diseases and water pollution.
  • The impact of water pollution on child health.
  • Water pollution and mental health.
  • The link between water pollution and cancer.
  • Water pollution and antimicrobial resistance.
  • The role of clean water in disease prevention.
  • Health inequalities and water pollution.
  • The psychological impact of water pollution.
  • Water pollution and food safety.
  • The future of public health in a polluted world.

Water Pollution and Climate Change

  • The impact of rising temperatures on water pollution.
  • Sea-level rise and water pollution.
  • Climate change, extreme weather events, and water pollution.
  • The role of water pollution in exacerbating climate change.
  • Climate change mitigation strategies and water pollution.
  • The future of water pollution in a warming world.
  • Climate justice and water pollution.
  • Climate change adaptation and water pollution.
  • The role of climate change education in water pollution control.
  • Climate change policies and water pollution.

Water Pollution and Social Issues

  • Water pollution and poverty.
  • Water pollution and gender inequality.
  • Water pollution and racial disparities.
  • Water pollution and indigenous rights.
  • Water pollution and migration.
  • Water pollution and conflict.
  • Water pollution and education.
  • Water pollution and community resilience.
  • Water pollution and social activism.
  • Water pollution and the media.

Water Pollution and Technology

  • The role of technology in water pollution detection.
  • Technological solutions for water treatment.
  • The impact of digital technology on water pollution control.
  • The role of AI in water pollution management.
  • Technology and water pollution education.
  • The future of technology in water pollution control.
  • The role of technology in water conservation.
  • Technology and sustainable water management.
  • The impact of technology on water quality.
  • Technological innovation and water pollution policies.

Water Pollution and Sustainability

  • The role of sustainable development in water pollution control.
  • Water pollution and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Sustainable water management practices.
  • The role of sustainability education in water pollution control.
  • Sustainability and water conservation.
  • The future of sustainability in a polluted world.
  • The role of sustainable agriculture in water pollution control.
  • Sustainable cities and water pollution.
  • Sustainability and water security.
  • The role of sustainability in water policy.

In conclusion, this comprehensive list of water pollution research paper topics offers a wide range of options for students interested in studying this critical environmental issue. Whether you’re interested in the causes, effects, solutions, or social implications of water pollution, there’s a topic here for you. Remember, the best research papers start with a topic you’re passionate about, so choose a topic that resonates with you and start exploring.

Water Pollution Research Guide

Water pollution is a critical environmental issue that poses significant challenges to ecosystems, human health, and sustainable development. As students of environmental science, it is vital to understand the complexities of water pollution and its implications for our planet. One of the essential tasks assigned to students in this field is to write research papers on water pollution, which not only enhance their knowledge but also contribute to the collective efforts in finding solutions. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore a wide range of water pollution research paper topics, provide expert advice on choosing suitable topics, and offer valuable insights on how to write an impactful research paper.

Water pollution encompasses various sources and factors, including industrial waste, agricultural runoff, sewage discharge, and chemical contaminants. By delving into research papers on water pollution, students can gain a deeper understanding of the causes, effects, and potential mitigation strategies for this environmental concern. Moreover, these research papers serve as platforms for students to contribute to the existing body of knowledge and propose innovative solutions to combat water pollution effectively.

Throughout this guide, we will present a diverse range of water pollution research paper topics that cover different aspects of the issue. These topics will be organized into comprehensive categories to facilitate your exploration and ensure you find a subject that aligns with your interests and academic goals. By addressing topics such as the impact of industrial pollutants on aquatic ecosystems, the role of agriculture in water contamination, and the effectiveness of wastewater treatment methods, you can explore the multifaceted dimensions of water pollution and contribute to the ongoing efforts to address this global challenge.

In addition to the extensive list of water pollution research paper topics, we will provide expert advice on how to choose the most suitable topic for your study. Selecting the right research topic is crucial as it determines the scope, relevance, and impact of your research. Our expert tips will guide you through the process, helping you identify areas of interest, narrow down your focus, and ensure that your chosen topic aligns with your academic goals and research objectives.

Furthermore, we understand that writing a research paper can be a daunting task, especially for those new to the field. Therefore, we have included a dedicated section on how to write a water pollution research paper. We will provide you with a step-by-step guide, from formulating a research question to conducting literature reviews, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting your findings. Additionally, we will share tips and techniques to enhance your writing skills, improve the structure and flow of your paper, and effectively communicate your research findings.

We also recognize that time constraints and other academic commitments may sometimes hinder students from devoting ample time to their research papers. That’s why we offer our professional writing services to assist you in crafting a custom water pollution research paper tailored to your specific requirements. Our team of expert degree-holding writers possesses extensive knowledge in environmental science and will conduct in-depth research to deliver a top-quality paper that meets your academic needs.

Choosing a Water Pollution Research Topic

Choosing a compelling and impactful research topic is crucial when writing a water pollution research paper. It sets the foundation for your study and determines the scope and relevance of your research. With numerous dimensions to explore within the realm of water pollution, selecting the right topic can be a challenging task. To help you navigate this process effectively, we have compiled expert advice and practical tips to guide you in choosing the most suitable water pollution research paper topic. Consider the following ten tips:

  • Identify your interests and passion : Begin by reflecting on your personal interests and areas of passion within the field of water pollution. Do you have a particular interest in industrial pollutants, agricultural runoff, or plastic waste in water bodies? Identifying your interests will help you stay motivated throughout the research process.
  • Conduct preliminary research : Before finalizing a topic, conduct preliminary research to familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge in the field. Read scholarly articles, research papers, and reports related to water pollution to gain insights into existing gaps, emerging trends, and potential research areas.
  • Narrow down your focus : Once you have an understanding of the broad field of water pollution, narrow down your focus to a specific aspect or subtopic that aligns with your interests and research goals. For example, you could explore the impact of microplastics on marine ecosystems or the effectiveness of water pollution regulations in urban areas.
  • Consider the research context : Take into account the geographical context and research opportunities available to you. Is there a specific region or local water body where you can conduct fieldwork or gather data? Considering the research context can add depth and relevance to your study.
  • Evaluate the research significance : Assess the significance and potential impact of your chosen topic. Does it address an important research gap, contribute to existing knowledge, or offer practical implications for water pollution management and conservation efforts? Aim for a topic that has both academic and real-world relevance.
  • Consult with your professor or advisor : Seek guidance from your professor or research advisor, as they can provide valuable insights and suggestions based on their expertise. They can help you refine your research questions, identify suitable methodologies, and offer suggestions for relevant literature.
  • Consider interdisciplinary perspectives : Water pollution is a complex issue that requires interdisciplinary approaches. Consider incorporating perspectives from other disciplines such as ecology, chemistry, public health, or policy analysis. This interdisciplinary approach can add depth and richness to your research.
  • Explore emerging trends and technologies : Stay updated with the latest research advancements, emerging trends, and innovative technologies in the field of water pollution. Investigate how new methodologies, monitoring techniques, or data analysis tools can be applied to your research topic to enhance its impact and contribute to the field.
  • Balance feasibility and interest : While it is essential to choose a topic that interests you, also consider its feasibility within the scope of your research project. Assess the availability of data, resources, and the time required to conduct research on your chosen topic.
  • Seek ethical considerations : Consider the ethical implications of your research topic, especially if it involves human subjects, sensitive ecosystems, or policy-related issues. Ensure that your research design adheres to ethical guidelines and safeguards the welfare of those involved.

By following these expert tips, you can select a compelling and meaningful water pollution research paper topic that aligns with your interests, contributes to the field, and inspires you throughout your research journey. Remember that the chosen topic will shape your research direction and influence the significance of your findings.

How to Write a Water Pollution Research Paper

Writing a water pollution research paper requires careful planning, systematic organization of ideas, and adherence to academic standards. In this section, we will provide you with ten practical tips to guide you through the process of writing an effective and compelling research paper on water pollution.

  • Understand the research question : Start by clearly understanding the research question or objective of your study. Identify the specific aspect of water pollution you aim to investigate and formulate a concise and focused research question that will guide your entire paper.
  • Conduct a comprehensive literature review : Before diving into writing, conduct a thorough literature review to familiarize yourself with existing research on the topic. Identify key theories, concepts, and findings that will serve as the foundation for your own study. Analyze the gaps and controversies in the literature that your research can address.
  • Develop a solid research methodology : Outline the research methodology that will best address your research question. Determine whether your study will involve quantitative analysis, qualitative research, or a combination of both. Clearly define your variables, sampling methods, data collection techniques, and analytical tools.
  • Gather relevant and reliable data : Collect data from credible sources to support your research findings. This may involve fieldwork, laboratory analysis, surveys, interviews, or secondary data collection. Ensure that your data is accurate, relevant, and representative of the research problem.
  • Analyze and interpret the data : Once you have collected the necessary data, conduct a rigorous analysis using appropriate statistical or qualitative techniques. Interpret the results in light of your research question and objectives. Use clear and concise language to present your findings, tables, charts, or graphs to enhance understanding.
  • Structure your paper effectively : Organize your research paper in a logical and coherent manner. Begin with an introduction that provides background information, states the research question, and outlines the structure of the paper. Follow with a literature review, methodology section, results and discussion, and a conclusion that summarizes your findings and implications.
  • Provide a critical analysis : While presenting your research findings, critically analyze the data and discuss its strengths, limitations, and implications. Highlight the significance of your findings in relation to existing knowledge and theories. Identify any areas for further research or potential policy implications.
  • Use clear and concise language : Communicate your ideas effectively by using clear and concise language throughout the paper. Avoid jargon or complex terminology unless necessary, and ensure that your arguments and explanations are easily understood by your target audience.
  • Cite and reference sources accurately : Give credit to the authors of the works you have referenced by using proper citation and referencing formats, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago style. This ensures that your paper is academically sound and avoids any plagiarism concerns.
  • Revise and edit your paper : Before finalizing your research paper, thoroughly revise and edit it for clarity, coherence, grammar, and punctuation. Ensure that your arguments flow logically, the structure is coherent, and the writing is polished. Seek feedback from peers or professors to improve the quality of your paper.

By following these ten tips, you can write a comprehensive and well-structured water pollution research paper that contributes to the field and effectively communicates your findings. Remember to maintain a critical mindset, engage with relevant literature, and present your research in a clear and concise manner.

Custom Research Paper Writing Services

When it comes to writing a high-quality and impactful research paper on water pollution, iResearchNet offers a range of writing services that cater to the specific needs of students studying environmental science. Our team of expert writers, who hold advanced degrees in the field, are committed to delivering custom research papers that meet the highest academic standards. Here are thirteen features that make our writing services the ideal choice for your water pollution research paper:

  • Expert degree-holding writers : Our team consists of writers with advanced degrees in environmental science and related fields. They possess in-depth knowledge and expertise in water pollution, ensuring that your research paper is written by a subject matter expert.
  • Custom written works : We understand the importance of originality and customization. Your research paper will be crafted from scratch, tailored to your specific requirements and research objectives. We never resell or reuse papers, ensuring that your work is unique and plagiarism-free.
  • In-depth research : Our writers are skilled researchers who are adept at conducting comprehensive literature reviews and gathering relevant data on water pollution. They will incorporate the latest research and data into your paper, providing a solid foundation for your study.
  • Custom formatting : Whether you require APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard, or any other formatting style, our writers are well-versed in various citation and formatting guidelines. They will ensure that your paper adheres to the specific formatting requirements of your institution.
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By choosing iResearchNet for your custom water pollution research paper, you can benefit from the expertise of our writers, the quality of our work, and the convenience of our services. Our goal is to provide you with a research paper that meets your requirements, contributes to the field, and helps you achieve academic success.

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ocean pollution research paper title

  • Original Research
  • Published: 02 August 2021

Cleaner seas: reducing marine pollution

  • Kathryn A. Willis 1 , 2 , 5   na1 ,
  • Catarina Serra-Gonçalves 1 , 3 ,
  • Kelsey Richardson 1 , 2 , 5 ,
  • Qamar A. Schuyler 2 ,
  • Halfdan Pedersen 8 ,
  • Kelli Anderson 4 ,
  • Jonathan S. Stark 1 , 7 ,
  • Joanna Vince 1 , 5 ,
  • Britta D. Hardesty 1 , 2 ,
  • Chris Wilcox 1 , 2 , 3 ,
  • Barbara F. Nowak 1 , 4 ,
  • Jennifer L. Lavers 3 ,
  • Jayson M. Semmens 3 ,
  • Dean Greeno 1 , 6 ,
  • Catriona MacLeod 1 , 3 ,
  • Nunnoq P. O. Frederiksen 9 , 10 &
  • Peter S. Puskic   ORCID: 1 , 3   na1  

Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries volume  32 ,  pages 145–160 ( 2022 ) Cite this article

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In the age of the Anthropocene, the ocean has typically been viewed as a sink for pollution. Pollution is varied, ranging from human-made plastics and pharmaceutical compounds, to human-altered abiotic factors, such as sediment and nutrient runoff. As global population, wealth and resource consumption continue to grow, so too does the amount of potential pollution produced. This presents us with a grand challenge which requires interdisciplinary knowledge to solve. There is sufficient data on the human health, social, economic, and environmental risks of marine pollution, resulting in increased awareness and motivation to address this global challenge, however a significant lag exists when implementing strategies to address this issue. This review draws upon the expertise of 17 experts from the fields of social sciences, marine science, visual arts, and Traditional and First Nations Knowledge Holders to present two futures; the Business-As-Usual, based on current trends and observations of growing marine pollution, and a More Sustainable Future, which imagines what our ocean could look like if we implemented current knowledge and technologies. We identify priority actions that governments, industry and consumers can implement at pollution sources, vectors and sinks, over the next decade to reduce marine pollution and steer us towards the More Sustainable Future.

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ocean pollution research paper title

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The ocean has historically been a sink for pollution, leaving modern society with significant ocean pollution legacy issues to manage (Elliott and Elliott 2013 ; O'Shea et al. 2018 ). People continue to pollute the ocean at increasing rates creating further damage to marine ecosystems. This results in detrimental impacts on livelihoods, food security, marine navigation, wildlife and well-being, among others (Krushelnytska 2018 ; Lebreton and Andrady 2019 ; Nichols 2014 ; Seitzinger et al. 2002 ). As pollution presents a multitude of stressors for ocean life, it cannot be explored in isolation (Khan et al., 2018 ). Thus, global coordinated efforts are essential to manage the current and future state of the ocean and to minimise further damage from pollution (Krushelnytska 2018 ; Macleod et al. 2016 ; O'Brien et al. 2019 ; Williams et al. 2015 ). Efforts are also needed to tackle key questions, such as how do pollutants function in different environments, and interact with each other?

Pollution can be broadly defined as any natural or human-derived substance or energy that is introduced into the environment by humans and that can have a detrimental effect on living organisms and natural environments (UNEP 1982 ). Pollutants, including light and sound in addition to the more commonly recognised forms, can enter the marine environment from a multitude of sources and transport mechanisms (Carroll et al. 2017 ; Depledge et al. 2010 ; Longcore and Rich 2004 ; Williams et al. 2015 ). These may include long range atmospheric movement (Amunsen et al. 1992 ) and transport from inland waterways (Lebreton et al. 2017 ).

Current pollutant concentrations in the marine environment are expected to continue increasing with growth in both global population and product production. For example, global plastic production increased by 13 million tonnes in a single year (PlasticsEurope 2018 ), with rising oceanic plastic linked to such trends (Wilcox et al. 2020 ). Pharmaceutical pollution is predicted to increase with population growth, resulting in a greater range of chemicals entering the ocean through stormwater drains and rivers (Bernhardt et al. 2017 ; Rzymski et al. 2017 ). Additionally, each year new chemical compounds are produced whose impacts on the marine environment are untested (Landrigan et al. 2018 ).

Marine pollution harms organisms throughout the food-web in diverse ways. Trace amounts of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in organisms have the capacity to cause physiological harm (Capaldo et al. 2018 ; Hoffman et al. 2011 ; Salamat et al. 2014 ) and alter behaviours (Brodin et al. 2014 ; Mattsson et al. 2017 ). Artificial lights along coasts at night can disrupt organism navigation, predation and vertical migration (Depledge et al. 2010 ). Pharmaceutical pollutants, such as contraceptive drugs, have induced reproductive failure and sex changes in a range of fish species (Lange et al. 2011 ; Nash et al. 2004 ). Furthermore, some pollutants also have the capacity to bioaccumulate, which means they may become more concentrated in higher trophic marine species (Bustamante et al. 1998 ; Eagles-Smith et al. 2009 ).

Pollution also poses a huge economic risk. Typically, the majority of consequences from pollution disproportionately impact poorer nations who have less resources to manage and remediate these impacts (Alario and Freudenburg 2010 ; Beaumont et al. 2019 ; Golden et al. 2016 ; Landrigan et al. 2018 ). Marine pollution can negatively impact coastal tourism (Jang et al. 2014 ), waterfront real estate (Ofiara and Seneca 2006 ), shipping (Moore 2018 ) and fisheries (Hong et al. 2017 ; Uhrin 2016 ). Contamination of seafood poses a perceived risk to human health, but also results in a significant financial cost for producers and communities (Ofiara and Seneca 2006 ; White et al. 2000 ). Additionally, current remediation strategies for most pollutants in marine and coastal ecosystems are costly, time consuming and may not prove viable in global contexts (Ryan and Jewitt 1996 ; Smith et al. 1997 ; Uhrin 2016 ).

Reducing marine pollution is a global challenge that needs to be addressed for the health of the ocean and the communities and industries it supports. The United Nations proposed and adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to guide future developments and intended to be achieved by 2030. It has flagged the reduction of marine pollution as a key issue underpinning the achievement of SDG 14, Life Under Water, with target 14.1 defined as “prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution” by 2025 (United Nations General Assembly 2015 ). In the UN Decade of Ocean Science (2021–2030), one of the six ocean outcomes relates specifically to the identification and reduction of marine pollution (A Clean Ocean; UN DOS SD). The task of reducing marine pollution is daunting—the ocean is so vast that cleaning it seems almost impossible. However, effective management of pollution at its source is a successful way to reduce it and protect the ocean (DeGeorges et al. 2010 ; Rochman 2016 ; Simmonds et al. 2014 ; Zhu et al. 2008 ). Strategies, implemented locally, nationally and globally, to prevent, or considerably reduce pollution inputs in combination with removing pollutants from the marine environment (Sherman and van Sebille 2016 ) will allow healthy ocean life and processes to continue into the future. However, such strategies need to be implemented on a collective global scale, and target pollution at key intervals from their creation to their use and disposal.

To help explain how society can most effectively address pollution sources and clean the ocean, we depict two different future seas scenarios by 2030. The first is a Business-As-Usual scenario, where society continues to adhere to current management and global trends. The second is a technically achievable, more sustainable future that is congruent with the SDGs, and where society actively take actions and adopt sustainable solutions. We then explore pollution in three ‘zones’ of action; at the source(s), along the way, and at sink, in the context of river or estuarine systems, as water-transported pollution is commonly associated with urban centres alongside river systems (Alongi and McKinnon 2005 ; Lebreton et al. 2017 ; Lohmann et al. 2012 ; Seitzinger and Mayorga 2016 ).

As a group of interdisciplinary scientists, with expertise in marine pollution, we participated in the Future Seas project ( ), which identified marine pollution as one of 12 grand challenges, and followed the method outlined in Nash et al. ( 2021 ). The process involved a structured discussion to explore the direction of marine social-ecological systems over the course of the UN Decade of Ocean Science, specific to marine pollution. The discussion resulted in developing two alternate future scenarios of marine pollution, a ‘Business-As-Usual’ future that is the current trajectory based on published evidence, and a ‘more sustainable’ future that is technically achievable using existing and emerging knowledge and is consistent with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. To ensure a wide range of world views were present in the future scenarios, Indigenous Leaders and Traditional Knowledge Holders from around the world came together and presented their views, experiences and identified their priorities to remove and reduce marine pollution (Nash et al. 2021 ; Fischer et al. 2020 ).

We defined the scope of our paper by identifying key pollutant sources, types and drivers of marine pollution (Table 1 for pollutant sources and types; see " Future Narratives " below). We then developed a list of feasible actions that could drive the current state of the ocean towards a cleaner, more sustainable future (Supplementary Table 1). From these actions we deliberated as a group and identified ten actions that have high potential to be implemented within the next decade and significantly reduce marine pollution (Fig.  1 ). The linkages between our ten priority actions and the SDGs are outlined in Supplementary Table 2.

figure 1

source of the pollutant (at the source), once the pollutant is released (along the way), once the pollutant has entered the ocean (at the sink) or at multiple points along the system (bottom arrow). * indicates actions that could be successfully implemented well before the next decade to significantly reduce pollution

Ten actions that can substantially reduce the amount of pollution entering the marine environment. Actions are placed along the system where they could have the greatest impact at reducing pollution: at the

Future narratives

We identified three broad sources of marine pollution: land-based industry, sea-based industry, and municipal-based sources and the most significant types of pollution characteristic of each source (Table 1 ). We framed our two contrasting future scenarios (Business-As-Usual and a technically feasible sustainable future), around these pollutants and their sources (Table 2 ). In addition to these future narratives, we reflect on the present impacts that pollution is currently having on the livelihoods and cultures of First Nations peoples and Traditional Knowledge Holders. We include the narratives of the palawa pakana people, from lutruwita/Tasmania (Table 3 ), and the Greenlandic Inuit people (Table 4 ).

We identified three key drivers that will substantially contribute to an increasingly polluted ocean if no actions are taken to intervene; societal behaviours, equity and access to technologies, and governance and policy. Alternatively, these pollution drivers can be viewed as opportunities to implement strategic measures that shift the trajectory from a polluted marine environment to a healthier marine environment. Below we highlight how current societal behaviours, lack of implementation of technological advancements, and ocean governance and policy making contribute to an increasingly polluted ocean and drive society towards a BAU future (Table 2 ). Importantly, we discuss how changes in these behaviours, and improvements in technologies and governance can lead to reduced marine pollution, ultimately driving a cleaner, more sustainable ocean for the future.

Societal behaviour

Societal behaviours that drive increasing pollution in the world’s ocean.

A consumer culture that prioritizes linear production and consumption of cheap, single-use materials and products over circular product design and use (such as, reusable products or products that are made from recycled material), ultimately drives the increased creation of materials. Current production culture is often aligned with little consideration for the socioeconomic and environmental externalities associated with the pollution that is generated from a product’s creation to its disposal (Foltete et al. 2011 ; Schnurr et al. 2018 ). Without a dedicated management strategy for the fate of products after they have met their varying, often single-use objectives, these materials will enter and accumulate in the surrounding environment as pollution (Krushelnytska 2018 ; Sun et al. 2012 ). Three examples of unsustainable social behaviours that lead to products and materials ending up as marine pollution are: (1) the design and creation of products that are inherently polluting. For example, agricultural chemicals or microplastics and chemicals in personal care and cosmetic products. (2) social behaviours that normalize and encourage consumption of single-use products and materials. For example, individually wrapped vegetables or take-away food containers. (3) low awareness of the impacts and consequences and therefore the normalization of polluting behaviours. For example, noise generation by ships at sea (Hildebrand 2009 ) or the large application of fertilizers to agricultural products (Sun et al. 2012 ).

Shifting societal behaviours towards sustainable production and consumption

A cleaner ocean with reduced pollution will require a shift in production practices across a wide array of industries, as well as a shift in consumer behaviour. Presently, consumers and industry alike are seeking science-based information to inform decision making (Englehardt 1994 ; Vergragt et al. 2016 ). Consumers have the power to demand change from industries through purchasing power and social license to operate (Saeed et al. 2019 ). Policymakers have the power to enforce change from industries through regulations and reporting. Aligning the values between producers, consumers and policymakers will ensure best practices of sustainable consumption and production are adopted (Huntington 2017 ; Moktadir et al. 2018 ; Mont and Plepys 2008 ). Improved understanding of the full life cycle of costs, consequences (including internalised externalities, such as the polluter-pays-principle (Schwartz 2018 )), materials used, and pollution potential of products could substantially shift the trajectory in both production and consumerism towards cleaner, more sustainable seas (Grappi et al. 2017 ; Liu et al. 2016 ; Lorek and Spangenberg 2014 ; Sun et al. 2012 ). For example, economic policy instruments (Abbott and Sumaila 2019 ), production transparency (Joakim Larsson and Fick 2009 ), recirculation of materials (Michael 1998 ; Sharma and Henriques 2005 ), and changes in supply-chains (Ouardighi et al. 2016 ) are some of the ways production and consumerism could become more sustainable and result in a cleaner ocean.

Equity and access to technologies

Inequitable access to available technologies.

Despite major advancements in technology and innovation for waste management, much of the current waste infrastructure implemented around the world is outdated, underutilised, or abandoned. This is particularly the case for rapidly developing countries with large populations who have not had access to waste reduction and mitigation technologies and systems employed in upper income countries (Velis 2014 ; Wilson et al. 2015 ). The informal recycling sector (IRS) performs the critical waste management role in many of the world’s most populous countries.

Harnessing technologies for today and the future

Arguably, in today’s world we see an unprecedented number and types of technological advances stemming from but not limited to seismic exploration (Malehmir et al. 2012 ), resource mining (Jennings and Revill 2007 ; Kampmann et al. 2018 ; Parker et al. 2016 ), product movement (Goodchild and Toy 2018 ; Tournadre 2014 ) and product manufacturing (Bennett 2013 ; Mahalik and Nambiar 2010 ). Applying long term vision rather than short term economic gain could include supporting technologies and innovations that provide substantial improvements over Business-As-Usual. For example, supporting businesses or industries that improve recyclability of products (Umeda et al. 2013 ; Yang et al. 2014 ), utilize waste (Korhonen et al. 2018 ; Pan et al. 2015 ), reduce noise (Simmonds et al. 2014 ), and increase overall production efficiency will substantially increase the health of the global ocean. Efforts should be made wherever possible to maintain current waste management infrastructure where proven and effective, in addition to ensuring reliance and durability of new technologies and innovations for improved lifespan and end of life product management. Consumer demand, taxation, and incentives will play a necessary roll to ensure the appropriate technologies are adopted (Ando and Freitas 2011 ; Krass et al. 2013 ).

Governance and policy

Lack of ocean governance and policy making.

The governance arrangements that address marine pollution on global, regional, and national levels are complex and multifaceted. Success requires hard-to-achieve integrated responses. In addition to the equity challenges discussed in Alexander et al. ( 2020 ) which highlight the need for reduced inequity to improve the susatinability of the marine enviornemnt, we highlight that land-based waste is the largest contributor to marine pollution and therefore requires governance and policies that focus on pollution at the source. Current regulations, laws and policies do not always reflect or address the grand challenge of reducing marine pollution at the source. The ocean has traditionally been governed through sectoral approaches such as fisheries, tourism, offshore oil and mining. Unfortunately, this sector approach has caused policy overlap, conflict, inefficiencies and inconsistencies regarding marine pollution governance (Haward 2018 ; Vince and Hardesty 2016 ). Although production, manufacturing, and polluting may largely take place under geo-political boundaries, pollution in the high seas is often hard to assign to a country of origin. This makes identifying and convicting polluters very difficult (Urbina 2019 ). For example, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78) has been criticised as ineffective in reducing marine pollution, largely due to the lack of easily monitoring, identifying and convicting offenders (Henderson 2001 ; Mattson 2006 ).

Harnessing ocean governance and policy

Binding domestic policies and international agreements are regulatory levers that can drive change at local, community, state, federal and international scales (Vince and Hardesty 2018 ). The UN Law of the Sea Convention Part XII (articles 192–237) is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the marine environment and marine pollution is addressed in article 194. It also sets out the responsibilities of states and necessary measures they need to undertake to minimise pollution their own and other jurisdictions. While the Law of the Sea recognises the differences between sea-based and land-based pollution, it does not address the type of pollutants and technical rules in detail. Voluntary measures including MARPOL 73/78 (IMO 1978 ), United Nations Environment Assembly resolutions (UNEA 2019 ) and the FAO voluntary guidelines for the marking of fishing gear (FAO 2019 ), already exist in an attempt to reduce specific components of marine pollution. However, the health of marine ecosystems would benefit from multilateral international or regional agreements that minimise the production of items or the use of processes that result in high levels of marine ecosystem harm. For example, international regulation for underwater sound (McCarthy 2004 ), policies to reduce waste emissions (Nie 2012 ) and the polluter pays principle (Gaines 1991 ) are policies and agreements that could minimise pollutants entering the marine ecosystem. Global and regional governance can create a favourable context for national policy action. Policies that adapt to shifts in climate and are guided by science and indigenous knowledge could be more likely to succeed (Ban et al. 2020 ).

Actions to achieve a more sustainable future

The grand challenge of reducing ocean pollution can seem overwhelming. However, there are myriad actions, interventions and activities which are highly feasible to implement within the next decade to rapidly reduce the quantity of pollution entering the ocean. Implementing these actions requires collaboration among policymakers, industry, and consumers alike. To reduce pollution from sea-based industries, land-based industries and municipal-based pollutants (Table 1 ), we encourage the global community to consider three ‘zones’ of action or areas to implement change: at the source(s), along the way/along the supply chain, and at sinks (Fig.  1 ). It is important to highlight that action cannot be implemented at any one zone only. For example, repeated clean ups at the sink may reduce pollution in an area for a time, but will not stem the flow of pollutants. Rather, action at all three zones is required if rapid, effective reductions of ocean pollution are to occur.

Actions at the source(s)

Reducing pollution at its multitude of sources is the most effective way to reduce and prevent marine pollution. This is true for land-based industry pollutants, sea-based industry pollutants and municipal-based pollutants. An example for each includes; reduction in fertilizer leading to less agricultural runoff in coastal waters (Bennett et al. 2001 ), changes in packaging materials may see reductions in production on a per item basis, and a lowered frequency and timing of seismic blasting would result in a decrease in underwater noise pollution at the source. The benefits of acting at the source are powerful: if a pollutant is not developed or used initially, it cannot enter the marine environment. Action can occur at the source using various approaches such as; prevention of contaminants, outreach campaigns, introduction of bans (or prohibitions) and incentives and the replacement of technologies and products for less impactful alternatives (Fig.  1 ). However, achieving public support abrupt and major changes can be difficult and time consuming. Such changes may meet resistance (e.g. stopping or changing seismic testing) and there are other factors beyond marine pollution that must be considered (e.g. health and safety of coastal lighting in communities may be considered more important than impacts of light pollution on nearby marine ecosystems). Actions such as outreach and education campaigns (Supplementary Table 2) will be an important pathway to achieve public support.

Actions along the way

Reducing marine pollution along the way requires implementation of approaches aimed at reducing pollution once it has been released from the source and is in transit to the marine environment (Fig.  1 ). Acting along the way does provide the opportunity to target particular pollutants (point-source pollution) which can be particularly effective in reducing those pollutants. While municipal-based pollutants can be reduced ‘along the way’ using infrastructure such as gross pollutant traps (GPTs) and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), some pollution such as light or sound may be more difficult to minimize or reduce in such a manner. WWTPs can successfully capture excess nutrients, pharmaceuticals and litter that are transported through sewerage and wastewater systems. However, pollution management ‘ en route ’ means there is both more production and more likelihood of leakage to the environment. In addition, infrastructure that captures pollution is often expensive, requires ongoing maintenance (and hence funding support), and if not managed properly, can become physically blocked, or result in increased risk to human health and the broader environment (e.g. flooding during heavy rainfall events). When considering management opportunities and risks for both land and sea-based pollution, the approaches required may be quite different, yielding unique challenges and opportunities for resolution in each (Alexander et al. 2020 ).

Actions at the sinks

Acting at sinks essentially requires pollution removal (Fig.  1 ). This approach is the most challenging, most expensive, and least likely to yield positive outcomes. The ocean encompasses more than 70% of the earth’s surface and extends to depths beyond ten kilometres. Hence it is a vast area for pollutants to disperse and economically and logistically prohibitive to clean completely. However, in some situations collecting pollutants and cleaning the marine environment is most viable option and there are examples of success. For example, some positive steps to remediate excess nutrients include integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (Buck et al. 2018 ). ‘Net Your Problem’ is a recycling program for fishers to dispose of derelict fishing gear ( ). Municipal-based and sea-based industry pollutants are often reduced through clean-up events. For example, large oils spills often require community volunteers to remove and clean oil from coastal environments and wildlife. Such activities provide increased awareness of marine pollution issues, and if data are recorded, can provide a baseline or benchmark against which to compare change. To address pollution at sinks requires us to prioritise efforts towards areas with high acclamations of pollution, (e.g., oil spills). Repeated removal or cleaning is unlikely to yield long term results, without managing the pollution upstream –whether along the route or at the source.

To achieve the More Sustainable Future, and significantly reduce pollution (thereby achieving the SGD targets in Supplementary Table 2), society must take ongoing action now and continue this movement beyond 2030. Prioritising the prevention of pollutants from their sources, using bans and incentives, outreach and education, and replacement technologies, is one of the most important steps that can be taken to shift towards a more sustainable future. Without addressing pollution from the source, current and future efforts will continue to remediate rather than mitigate the damage pollution causes to the ocean and organisms within. For pollutants that are not currently feasible to reduce at the source, collection of pollutants before they reach the ocean should be prioritised. For example, wastewater treatment plants and gross pollutant traps located at point-source locations such as stormwater and wastewater drains are feasible methods for reducing pollutants before they reach the ocean. Actions at the sink should target areas where the maximum effort per quantity of pollution can be recovered from the ocean. For example, prompt clean-up responses to large pollution events such as oil spills or flooding events and targeting clean-ups at beaches and coastal waters with large accumulations of plastic pollution.

These priority actions are not the perfect solution, but they are great examples of what can be and is feasibly done to manage marine pollution. Each action is at risk of failing to shift to a cleaner ocean without the support from governments, industries, and individuals across the whole system (from the source to the sink). Governments and individuals need to push for legislation that is binding and support sustainable practices and products. Effective methods for policing also need to be established in partnership with the binding legislation. Regardless of which zone are addressed, our actions on sea and coastal country must be guided by Indigenous knowledge and science (Fischer et al., 2020 ; Mustonen (in prep).

We recognise the major global disruptions which have occurred in 2020, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. The futures presented here were developed prior to this outbreak and therefore do not consider the effects of this situation on global pollution trends. In many ways, this situation allows us to consider a ‘reset’ in global trajectory as discussed by Nash et al. ( 2021 ). Our sustainable future scenario may be considered a very real goal to achieve in the coming decade.

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We thank Lola, Rex and Vanessa Greeno for sharing their knowledge of the impacts of pollution on their art and culture. Thank you to Animate Your Science, JB Creative Services and Annie Gatenby for assistance with the graphical aspects of this project. Thank you to Rupert the Boxer puppy for deciding authorship order. This paper is part of the ‘Future Seas’ initiative ( ), hosted by the Centre for Marine Socioecology at the University of Tasmania. This initiative delivers a series of journal articles addressing key challenges for the UN International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. The general concepts and methods applied in many of these papers were developed in large collaborative workshops involving more participants than listed as co-authors here, and we are grateful for their collective input. Funding for Future Seas was provided by the Centre for Marine Socioecology, IMAS, MENZIES and the College of Arts, Law and Education, the College of Science and Engineering at UTAS, and Snowchange from Finland. We acknowledge support from a Research Enhancement Program grant from the DVCR Office at UTAS. Thank you to Camilla Novaglio for providing an internal project review of an earlier draft, and to guest editor Rob Stephenson, editor-in-chief Jan Strugnell and two anonymous reviewers, for improving the manuscript. We acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners and custodians of sea country all around the world, and recognise their collective wisdom and knowledge of our ocean and coasts.

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Centre for Marine Sociology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Kathryn A. Willis, Catarina Serra-Gonçalves, Kelsey Richardson, Jonathan S. Stark, Joanna Vince, Britta D. Hardesty, Chris Wilcox, Barbara F. Nowak, Dean Greeno, Catriona MacLeod & Peter S. Puskic

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Kathryn A. Willis, Kelsey Richardson, Qamar A. Schuyler, Britta D. Hardesty & Chris Wilcox

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Catarina Serra-Gonçalves, Chris Wilcox, Jennifer L. Lavers, Jayson M. Semmens, Catriona MacLeod & Peter S. Puskic

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Fisheries and Aquaculture, University of Tasmania, Newnham, TAS, Australia

Kelli Anderson & Barbara F. Nowak

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Kathryn A. Willis, Kelsey Richardson & Joanna Vince

School of Creative Arts and Media, College of Arts, Law and Education, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

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Australian Antarctic Division, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Jonathan S. Stark

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The PISUNA Project, Qeqertalik Municipality, Attu, Greenland

Nunnoq P. O. Frederiksen

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P.S. Puskic and K. Willis share equal lead authorship on this paper. All authors wrote sections of this manuscript and contributed to concept design and paper discussions. N.F and H.P. wrote the narratives for Table 4 . D.G. wrote Table 3 . All authors provided edits and feedback to earlier drafts.

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Willis, K.A., Serra-Gonçalves, C., Richardson, K. et al. Cleaner seas: reducing marine pollution. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries 32 , 145–160 (2022).

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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

December 3, 2020

Paper finds ocean pollution is a complex mix of chemicals and materials, primarily land-based in origin, with far-reaching consequences for environmental and human health, but there are options available for world leaders

For centuries, the ocean has been viewed as an inexhaustible receptacle for the byproducts of human activity. Today, marine pollution is widespread and getting worse and, in most countries, poorly controlled with the vast majority of contaminants coming from land-based sources. That’s the conclusion of a new study by an international coalition of scientists taking a hard look at the sources, spread, and impacts of ocean pollution worldwide.

The study is the first comprehensive examination of the impacts of ocean pollution on human health. It was published December 3 in the online edition of the Annals of Global Health and released the same day at the Monaco International Symposium on Human Health & the Ocean in a Changing World, convened in Monaco and online by the Prince Albert II de Monaco Foundation, the Centre Scientifique de Monaco and Boston College.

“This paper is part of a global effort to address questions related to oceans and human health,” said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) toxicologist and senior scientist John Stegeman who is second author on the paper. “Concern is beginning to bubble up in a way that resembles a pot on the stove. It’s reaching the boiling point where action will follow where it’s so clearly needed.”

ocean pollution research paper title

Despite the ocean’s size—more than two-thirds of the planet is covered by water—and fundamental importance supporting life on Earth, it is under threat, primarily and paradoxically from human activity. The paper, which draws on 584 peer-reviewed scientific studies and independent reports, examines six major contaminants: plastic waste, oil spills, mercury, manufactured chemicals, pesticides, and nutrients, as well as biological threats including harmful algal blooms and human pathogens.

It finds that ocean chemical pollution is a complex mix of substances, more than 80% of which arises from land-based sources. These contaminants reach the oceans through rivers, surface runoff, atmospheric deposition, and direct discharges and are often heaviest near the coasts and most highly concentrated along the coasts of low- and middle-income countries. Waters most seriously impacted by ocean pollution include the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea, and Asian rivers. For the many ocean-based ecosystems on which humans rely, these impacts are exacerbated by global climate change. According to the researchers, all of this has led to a worldwide human health impacts that fall disproportionately on vulnerable populations in the Global South, making it a planetary environmental justice problem, as well.

In addition to Stegeman, who is also director of the NSF- and NIH-funded Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health , WHOIbiologists Donald Anderson and Mark Hahn , and chemist Chris Reddy also contributed to the report. Stegeman and the rest of the WHOI team worked on the analysis with researchers from Boston College’s Global Observatory on Pollution and Health, directed by the study’s lead author and Professor of Biology Philip J. Landrigan, MD. Anderson led the report’s section on harmful algal blooms, Hahn contributed to a section on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) with Stegeman, and Reddy led the section on oil spills. The Observatory, which tracks efforts to control pollution and prevent pollution-related diseases that account for 9 million deaths worldwide each year, is a program of the new Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, part of a $300-million investment in the sciences at BC. Altogether, over 40 researchers from institutions across the United States, Europe and Africa were involved in the report.

In an introduction printed in Annals of Global Health , Prince Albert of Monaco points out that their analysis, in addition to providing a global wake-up, serves as a call to mobilize global resolve to curb ocean pollution and to mount even greater scientific efforts to better understand its causes, impacts, and cures.

“The link between ocean pollution and human health has, for a long time, given rise to very few studies,” he says. “Taking into account the effects of ocean pollution—due to plastic, water and industrial waste, chemicals, hydrocarbons, to name a few—on human health should mean that this threat must be permanently included in the international scientific activity.”

The report concludes with a series of urgent recommendations. It calls for eliminating coal combustion, banning all uses of mercury, banning single-use plastics, controlling coastal discharges, and reducing applications of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. It argues that national, regional and international marine pollution control programs must extend to all countries and where necessary supported by the international community. It calls for robust monitoring of all forms of ocean pollution, including satellite monitoring and autonomous drones. It also appeals for the formation of large, new marine protected areas that safeguard critical ecosystems, protect vulnerable fish stocks, and ultimately enhance human health and well-being.

Most urgently, the report calls upon world leaders to recognize the near-existential threats posed by ocean pollution, acknowledge its growing dangers to human and planetary health, and take bold, evidence-based action to stop ocean pollution at its source.

“The key thing to realize about ocean pollution is that, like all forms of pollution, it can be prevented using laws, policies, technology, and enforcement actions that target the most important pollution sources,” said Professor Philip Landrigan, MD, lead author and Director of the Global Observatory on Pollution on Health and of the Global Public Health and the Common Good Program at Boston College. “Many countries have used these tools and have successfully cleaned fouled harbors, rejuvenated estuaries, and restored coral reefs. The results have been increased tourism, restored fisheries, improved human health, and economic growth. These benefits will last for centuries.”

The report is being released in tandem with the Declaration of Monaco: Advancing Human Health & Well-Being by Preventing Ocean Pollution, which was read at the symposium’s closing session. Endorsed by the scientists, physicians and global stakeholders who participated in the symposium in-person and virtually, the declaration summarizes the key findings and conclusions of the Monaco Commission on Human Health and Ocean Pollution. Based on the recognition that all life on Earth depends on the health of the seas, the authors call on leaders and citizens of all nations to “safeguard human health and preserve our Common Home by acting now to end pollution of the ocean.”

“This paper is a clarion call for all of us to pay renewed attention to the ocean that supports life on Earth and to follow the directions laid out by strong science and a committed group of scientists,” said Rick Murray, WHOI Deputy Director and Vice President for research and a member of the conference steering committee. “The ocean has sustained humanity throughout the course of our evolution—it’s time to return the favor and do what is necessary to prevent further, needless damage to our life planetary support system.”

Funding for this work was provided in part by the U.S. Oceans and Human Health Program (NIH grant P01ES028938 and National Science Foundation grant OCE-1840381), the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Government of the Principality of Monaco, and Boston College.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate an understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. WHOI’s pioneering discoveries stem from an ideal combination of science and engineering—one that has made it one of the most trusted and technically advanced leaders in basic and applied ocean research and exploration anywhere. WHOI is known for its multidisciplinary approach, superior ship operations, and unparalleled deep-sea robotics capabilities. We play a leading role in ocean observation, and operate the most extensive suite of data-gathering platforms in the world. Top scientists, engineers, and students collaborate on more than 800 concurrent projects worldwide—both above and below the waves—pushing the boundaries of knowledge and possibility. For more information, please visit

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Your environment. your health., new study finds ocean pollution a threat to human health.

By Megan Avakian

empty plastic bottle on beach

While plastic debris is the most visible component of ocean pollution and is rapidly accumulating, it is the invisible chemicals, particles, metals, and biologic toxins that have been shown to affect human health. (Photo courtesy of Catherine Sheila/Pexels)

Ocean pollution poses a clear and present danger to human health and well-being, according to a new study from an international group of researchers. The study sounds the alarm that the growing global problem, which scientists are only beginning to understand, requires urgent and immediate action. It is a call to mobilize, say the authors who offer a path forward via pollution prevention and research recommendations.

“Ocean pollution is a widespread, worsening, and poorly controlled problem that is directly affecting human and ecosystem health,” said lead study author Philip Landrigan, M.D., director of the Boston College Global Observatory on Pollution and Health. “It is a complex mix of toxins that, until now, has not received the systematic attention it deserves.”

The study, funded in part by NIEHS and coordinated by the Centre Scientifique de Monaco with support from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, is the first comprehensive examination of the impacts of ocean pollution on human health.

An Unjust Burden

Covering more than two-thirds of the planet, the oceans provide food, livelihoods, and cultural and recreational value to billions around the world. Ocean pollution, which stems primarily from human activities, threatens these many benefits.

More than 80% of ocean pollution comes from land-based sources, making its way to the seas through runoff, rivers, atmospheric deposition, and direct discharges. It is most highly concentrated along the coasts of low- and middle-income countries.

“Ocean pollution is deeply unjust. Its impacts fall most heavily on low-income countries, coastal fishing communities, people on small island nations, indigenous populations, and people in the high Arctic – groups that for the most part produce very little pollution themselves,” explained Landrigan. “These populations rely on the oceans for food. Their survival depends on the health of the seas.”

Multiple Pollutants, Multiple Health Effects

infographic showing the ocean pollution-berg with plastic waste, oil spills, mercury, chemicals, pesticides and nutrients

Ocean pollution is a complex mixture. Click image to enlarge. (Photo courtesy of Will Stahl-Timmins)

Ocean pollution is a complex mixture made up of mercury, plastic waste, manufactured chemicals, petroleum wastes, agricultural runoff, and biological threats, like harmful algal blooms. People are exposed to these toxins mainly by eating contaminated seafood.

Coal combustion is the major source of mercury pollution in the oceans. When coal is burned, mercury enters the atmosphere and eventually washes down into the sea. The authors noted that when a pregnant woman eats mercury-contaminated fish, the mercury can damage her child’s developing brain resulting in IQ loss and behavior problems. In adults, consumption of mercury-contaminated fish increases risk for heart disease and dementia.

Plastic waste makes up an estimated 80% of marine pollution. About 10 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the oceans each year, killing seabirds, fish, and marine mammals. It breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastics that absorb a range of chemicals floating in the marine environment, including pesticides and toxic metals. These chemical-laden particles are ingested by fish and shellfish and then passed on to seafood consuming humans. Microplastics may harm marine and human health, but the risks are still largely unknown.

“There's a lot of work needed to better understand the composition, toxicity, and potential human health impacts of microplastics, but it’s likely that it’s pretty substantial,” said Landrigan.

The chemicals used to manufacture a range of products, from consumer goods and food packaging to cleaning products and pesticides, also end up in the seas. The authors wrote that of the thousands of manufactured chemicals and chemical mixtures that pollute the world’s oceans, humans are most likely to be exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, brominated flame retardants, perfluorinated substances, and pesticides through eating contaminated seafood. These chemicals have been shown to cause a wide range of health effects in humans such as cardiovascular disease, developmental and neurobehavioral disorders, metabolic disease, immune dysfunction, endocrine disruption, and cancers.

Algae are essential components of aquatic food webs and ecosystems. But too much of a good thing can be toxic. Harmful algal blooms (HAB) occur when toxin-producing algae grow excessively in ocean waters. Warming sea waters make formerly unsuitable habitats habitable, leading to a range expansion of HAB species and the human populations they affect. Industrial waste, agricultural runoff, pesticides, and human sewage can all spur a HAB event. People are exposed to HAB toxins from eating contaminated fish and shellfish. These toxins can cause dementia, amnesia, other neurological damage, and death.

Climate Change Magnifies the Problem

“Ocean pollution and climate change are both components of planetary health. The two problems largely arise from the same source: the combustion of fossil fuels, coal, oil, and gas that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That in turn leads to a whole series of problems,” said Landrigan.

For example, a warmer climate melts glaciers and permafrost, freeing legacy pollutants from ice. Rising sea temperatures increase the number and expand the range of marine microbes that can cause disease. As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increase, so too does the amount that oceans absorb. This results in more acidic waters that can erode coral reefs and calcium containing organisms such as plankton that are the base of the marine food chain. Ocean acidification can also increase the toxicity of certain heavy metals and chemicals.

A Path Forward

The authors close with optimism and offer a series of case studies, policy, and research recommendations to save the planet’s oceans.

“The key thing to realize about ocean pollution is that, like all forms of pollution, it can be prevented using laws, policies, technology, and enforcement actions that target the most important pollution sources,” said Landrigan.

The authors call for eliminating coal combustion to reduce ocean bound mercury pollution and a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Banning single-use plastics, like straws and plastic bags, can reduce the amount of plastic pollution entering oceans. Controlling coastal pollution and expanding Marine Protected Areas, sometimes call the “national parks of the ocean,” can safeguard critical ecosystems, protect vulnerable fish stocks, and improve human health and well-being.

“Many countries have used these tools and have successfully cleaned fouled harbors, rejuvenated estuaries, and restored coral reefs. The results have been increased tourism, restored fisheries, improved human health, and economic growth. These benefits will last for centuries.”

A Role for Research

On the research side, the authors stress that a better understanding of the human health impacts of ocean pollution can provide the evidence base needed to inform protective policies. Among the research priorities, they call for improved ocean pollution monitoring, studies of human exposure to ocean pollutants and health effect biomarkers, and a better understanding of the effects of exposure to multiple ocean pollutants.

“There is a real need to better understand how exposure to mixtures, like ocean pollution, affect health. This is one area where I see the environmental health community playing a role in advancing ocean pollution and human health research,” said John Stegeman, Ph.D., second author on the paper and director of the Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health, which is co-funded by NIEHS and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Another skill set environmental health scientists bring to the table is community engagement. “Globally, there is a need to involve communities and medical professionals in oceans research. NIEHS has long recognized the benefit of community engagement, and its grantees have developed community engagement best practices that could be key in helping us better understand and prevent ocean pollution exposures,” said Stegeman.

NIEHS has supported research on marine-related health issues since the 1970s. Grantees are studying coastal populations to better understand how people are exposed to ocean pollutants and health effects of exposure. They are exploring how climate change affects distribution and toxicity of HABs and developing sensors and technologies to better predict HAB events and prevent exposure. In 2004, NIEHS and the NSF launched the Centers for Oceans and Human Health program that funds interdisciplinary research centers around the country.

Stegeman concluded that “Understanding ocean pollution is a highly interdisciplinary endeavor. In our center, we have basic biomedical scientists, toxicologists, biological and physical oceanographers, environmental modelers, chemists, and engineers all working together. It takes a collaborative environment like that created through the NIEHS-NSF Centers for Oceans and Human Health program to fully understand how our oceans impact human health.”

NIEHS identifies Global Environmental Health (GEH) as a part of its strategic themes, recognizing that because environmental health problems cross national boundaries, conducting studies around the world benefits not just those in areas being studied, but all people who suffer from the same or related environmental health problems.

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Water pollution ‘timebomb’ threatens global health

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Up to 5.5 billion people worldwide could be exposed to polluted water by 2100, a modelling study has found.

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The government should regulate ocean pollution due to the fact they are one of the contributing factors to ocean pollution. Ocean pollution affects more than just the waterways. Marine life is decreasing day by day due to the amount of trash that builds up in our oceans. Agricultural fertilizer and climate change have also been afflicted in negative ways by the inconsiderate attitude towards our environment namely the ocean. From nuclear bomb testing to creating the Great Pacific garbage patch. […]

Ocean Pollution for the most Wildlife

The ocean is home to the most wildlife in the entire world. Every day people are destroying life in the ocean by polluting it. There are many different endangered animals in the ocean. Every day they are being killed off by man-made pollutants. The ocean covers more than eighty percent of the Earth so we should protect it by, being more conservative, recycling, and cleaning out the ocean ( Plastic pollution is deeply reflected on humans; over half of the […]

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Plastic Pollution in the Oceans

“There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way” (McCarthy). Many Americans consume plastic throughout the year and do not recycle all of it. The beaches are getting dirtier and dirtier but there is not much change going on. The wastes on the beaches, streets, and air are going into the ocean and harming the species. Pollution in the oceans is affecting the sea creatures because surfers are exposed to pathogens, sea turtles develop […]

Ocean Pollution and a “dead Zone”

There is a “dead zone” the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico in which aquatic life cannot survive . There is a garbage patch the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean. Dead zones and garbage patches are just some examples of the horrific effects that water pollution has on the life of all sorts. Every day, millions of sea critters, as well as humans, are victims to a harder life at the hand of pollution. With […]

Mercury Pollution in our Ocean

Mercury pollution is everywhere, it's in the air that animals breath and we breath as well. It's also in our land and inside of our beautiful sea. Mercury is a metal that's heavy and is cycled throughout the earth. Mercy pollution is world wide and a global problem. The reason mercury pollution is an issue is because it hurts fish. The fish and shell fish breath in the water through there gills which is inside of the water that they […]

Fight against Plastic Pollution

 Do you ever consider the life of the shopping bag you use to transport your groceries or the plastic straw that seems to come standard now with most beverages? “A bag that is used on average for 15 minutes, yet it could take 100 to 300 years to fragment” according to These often one-time-use plastics do more harm than good when looking at their long half-life and the effects on our environment, even though their implementation into the market […]

Plastic Pollution in the Philippines

The top countries that dispose of the most plastic are all in Asia the Philippines is the third. What is the problem, the Philippines are using too many plastic objects. Who has the pollution affected humans, food sources including, land animals, crops, and wildlife? Solutions what can the Philippines do to help the water pollution and save their and our world. What is the problem? “The Philippines generates 2.7 million tonnes of plastic waste annually and 20 percent – or […]

Pollution in the Pacific Ocean

Pollution has become an ongoing problem throughout the Earth. From air pollution to waste pollution, the Earth is getting destroyed from the carelessness of others. More importantly, plastic is one of the leading problems of waste pollution, as it can take hundreds of years to break down, if at all. As the plastic industries grow, so does the amount of waste that is created, and that trash has to go somewhere. Many don't tend to think about where their trash […]

Plastic Pollution in Ocean

Abstract The use of plastic is a part and parcel of modern life. Because of its non-biodegradable nature, plastic garbage creates hazards both on the surface and in the water of seas and oceans. Inhabitants of the oceans are endangered due to plastic pollution. Moreover, the presence of tiny plastic particles in the marine food chain also raises questions about human health and food security. The UN Environment Assembly passed a resolution in Dec. 2017 to eliminate plastic pollution in […]

Plastic Pollution in Tho Ocean: Facts and Information

To many, the ocean may just serve as a place for water recreation and fishing. However, without the ocean, the Earth would not have the air we breathe. The ocean produces over half the world’s oxygen and absorbs fifty times more carbon than the atmosphere. Covering more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface we truly have only one “World Ocean”. Home to 97 percent of the planet’s water supply saltwater moves from one part of the ocean to another […]

Kinds of Pollution: the Future of Environment

Can you stay without light in your life?! Our environment is our light. God created the surroundings in their most beautiful form, but when a shadow got here over this light, our surroundings grew to become darkish and this shadow is us. The environment includes the living and non-living things that an organism interacts with or has an impact on it. Living elements that an organism interacts with are known as biotic elements: animals, plants, etc., abiotic elements are non-living […]

The Negative Effect of Single Use Plastic

One of the largest producers of plastic wastes in Asia is the Philippines. According to PhilStar Global (2018), about 79 percent of branded plastic residual wastes came from food packaging, followed by household and personal care products with 12 and eight percent, respectively. One of the solutions that the researchers have in mind to minimize producing plastic waste is the banning of single-use plastic. The researchers envision their campus free from single-use plastic and free from its harmful effects on […]

Campaign against Plastic Pollution

Plastic has become a necessity in man’s life all around the world. Plastics are in everything; your toothbrush, mechanical pencil, cell phone, milk jug, and even your face wash. This “versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture-resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive” substance has dire consequences on the ocean environment because it is extremely durable and non-biodegradable (Le Guern, 2018). Consequently, plastic is found floating around in our oceans for decades. Some countries are enforcing taxes, laws, and bans on microplastics (such as plastic […]

Beach Clean-Up Study Shows Global Scope of Plastic Pollution

Have you ever been to the beach and seen trash laying there? Most people who see trash on the beach pick it up and throw it away. But, there are some people who see it and think “It’s just a little bit of trash, I’m sure it’s fine”. If you're one of those people I suggest you stop. There is so much waste in the ocean that destroys the life of marine animals. Not only does it hurt them and […]

Plastic Pollution of Earth’s Oceans

Introduction Approximately 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year (Cressey 2016). It's disposable, yet long-lasting nature makes it critical to pose the question “where does all this plastic end up?” A large quantity of the plastic produced eventually ends up floating on the surface of the ocean- some even reach the seafood humans eat (Rochman, 2016). Plastic is a cheap, versatile, disposable material that does not degrade easily, making it a perfect candidate for a variety of uses […]

Plastic Pollution and its Effect on the Thermal Capacity of Seawater

The findings of this study indicate that as expected the natural albedo of seawater is susceptible to positive and negative forcing by pollution and natural agents. Comparison of oil and gas pollutants showed inverse temperature change profiles, with the oil sample heating more rapidly and cooling more slowly than seawater, while the plastic sample heated slower and cooled faster than the control. Regarding oil pollution, reports have shown that while a rainbow film of oil over the surface of the […]

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229 Pollution Essay Topics + Examples

Environmental pollution comes in many forms: noise, light, plastic, greenhouse gas emissions, and others. If you’re looking for interesting topics about pollution for your essay or research paper, you’re at the right place! StudyCorgi has prepared a list of catchy pollution titles for your writing assignments. On this page, you’ll find research questions about pollution of different types, for example, air, water, and ocean pollution. Read on to find a good research title about pollution for your paper!

🏆 Best Essay Topics on Pollution

👍 good pollution research topics & essay examples, 🌶️ hot pollution essay examples, 🎓 most interesting pollution research titles, 💡 simple pollution topics for research paper, 📌 easy pollution essay topics, ❓ pollution research questions.

  • Marine Pollution in Australia This paper will set out to engage in a detailed discussion about marine pollution in Australia. It will begin by highlighting the major sources of marine pollution.
  • International Marine Pollution Law International Marine law is essential in governing the natural resources from illegal acts of pollution that poses dangers to marine life and the life depending on the waters of oceans or seas.
  • Environmental Pollution (Fresh Water) In terms of the water Pollution, conditioning it would be analyzed whether it has declined or improved over the past few years and if so the degree would be determined.
  • Water Pollution This essay seeks to examine the concept of water pollution, its causes, effects and solutions to water pollution.
  • Environmental Pollution Effects on Health Environmental contaminations such as lead taxation, noise and air pollution harmfully affect physical, psychological health and behavioral patterns of adults and children.
  • The Issue of Environment Pollution in Peru For their scavenger habits, the Peruvians use black vultures, or coragyps atrarus. This species is extensive in population and does not fall under special protection.
  • Water Pollution Causes, Effects and Solutions This essay seeks to examine the concept of water pollution, its causes, effects and solutions to water pollution. Water pollution takes place in various water bodies all over the world.
  • Iron Ore Industry and Environmental Pollution This paper is an economic analysis of environmental pollution as a current issue or problem facing the iron ore industry.

  • Air Pollution Health Risks Information Campaign This paper is dedicated to developing and planning an information campaign about Air Pollution Health Risks in a suburban community with a population of 20,000.
  • Air Pollution Threats: Parent Education The purpose of this pamphlet is to educate parents on the dangers of air pollution and suggest preventive strategies to keep their children safe.
  • Clean Air Act: Overall Air Pollution Reducing The problem of environmental pollution and, in particular, the air became especially urgent after the emergence of large industrial enterprises operating on harmful fuel.
  • Pollution Forms, Effects and Mitigation This article discusses the major forms of pollution, including air, water, noise, and soil pollution. It puts on sources of pollutants, effects of pollution, and methods of mitigating pollution.
  • Pollution and Noise as Environmental Health Issues This paper explores the concept of environmental health and the issues related to its use. On the whole, a detailed explanation of the term “environmental health” is provided.
  • Global Food Supplies, Overpopulation and Pollution The essay explores the problem of the threats to global food supplies and presents solutions and a critique of their effectiveness in alleviating this challenge.
  • Beijing’s Air Pollution Crisis Resolution Beijing’s struggle with poor air quality is far from over. Nevertheless, the government demonstrated its commitment to reducing particulate matter in the atmosphere.
  • Chemical Pollution and Loans in Business Ethics This paper examines two scenarios and evaluates the application of different ethical approaches to offer solutions to the dilemmas facing victims.
  • Reducing the Rate of Pollution This work presents a proposal of the project aimed at developing a strategy initiated by the E227 Global Solutions Company to reduce the rate of pollution it generates annually.
  • Industrial Pollution and Environmental Regulation Environmental regulations should be not be overlooked by manufacturing companies because they can be forced to pay heavy fines if their activities detrimentally affect the environment.
  • Pollution Impact on the Environment Pollution destroys the environment and kills all kinds of living organisms that inhabit the planet. The mortality rate of people with cancer grows every year.
  • Traffic and Pollution in Los Angeles In Los Angeles, high car fuel consumption causes both environmental and health issues. The most cost-effective solution is to replace all cars in the city with donkeys.
  • Evaluating the Efficacy of Government Spending on Air Pollution Control: A Case Study From Beijing While living in a city often means better conditions and access to goods and services, rapid urban development has been associated with adverse health outcomes due to air pollution.
  • Water Pollution Index of Batujai Reservoir, Central Lombok Regency-Indonesia Despite having 6% of the world’s water resources, Indonesia’s environmental policies have not only been raising concerns but also pushed the country to the brink of water crisis.
  • Causes and Effects of Pollution The causes and effects of pollution are multiple and varied, and they should be examined closely to better understand this phenomenon.
  • The WWF’s Environmental Advertisement on Marine and Ocean Pollution Visual image can also make a convincing point, and this is particularly applicable to social and environmental advertising.
  • The Amazon Pollution and Its Effect on Birds The impact of the pollution of the Amazon on birds, their populations, and habits is significant and is the object of concern to many stakeholders.
  • Can Pollution Free Corporations Exist? A multinational corporation refers to an enterprise that delivers services in at least two countries. In addition to this, a multi-national corporation manages production establishments.
  • Pollution And Health: An Analysis Global warming is a real threat to the global community, and we can save the future generations by employing simple solutions to considerably minimize pollution and the global warming.
  • Air Pollution: Effects and Regulations This essay analyzes the air pollution effects and regulations based on a simple observation of a smoke coming from a large smokestack.
  • Methods of Planet Pollution Prevention The world is currently experiencing several environmental problems. The majority of these problems are due to drastic globalization and the vast natural processes.
  • Gasoline Consumption Statistics and Reduction of Environmental Pollution Gasoline is made out of processed crude oil and has a very strong smell. It contains over 150 chemicals that include the BTEX compounds, that is, benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene.
  • Bioremediation Technology Against Environmental Pollution The rapid environmental pollution which occurs due to poor solid waste disposal can be collected by the use of bioremediation technology.
  • Industrial Pollution in China and the USA Industries in China and the USA produce sulfur dioxide gas into the atmosphere, when it rains the gas reacts with water to produce sulphuric acid.
  • Water and Soil Pollution: Effects on the Environment Water and soil pollution is the process of contaminating water and soil. In this project, we will investigate the apparent main pollutants of the Spring Mill Lake.
  • Three Solutions to Problem of Pollution Externalities Pollution, which is a negative externality are caused by production or consumption processes. Pollution is divided in several types which include water, air, land, radioactive, noise, and thermal pollution.
  • Evaluation of Three Solutions to the Problem of Pollution Externalities In economics terms an externality or a spill-over can be defined as an effect caused by a party that is not directly concerned with making the economic decision.
  • The Alleviation Plans to Air Pollution Throughout the World Air Quality Mitigation Plan is a proposed project which aims at reducing the emissions that affect the air quality by at least fifteen percent.
  • Environmental Pollution Impact and Ways to Reduce It Pollution can be defined as the introduction of contaminants into the environment which can cause environmental imbalances, instability and harm to living organisms.
  • Marina Barrage: Land Contamination and Noise Pollution Assessment Methods and techniques of noise pollution control involve measuring the noise level several times during the non-rainy season.
  • Effects of Air Pollution on Health The main effects of air pollution on health, the main air pollutants, and the policies necessary to reduce the levels of air pollution.
  • Burning Issue of Water Pollution in Washington The problem of polluted drinking water in Washington should be solved immediately despite various obstacles, such as pressure for money, etc.
  • Noise Pollution: A Closer Look at the Problem Environmental noises are widespread all over the world and are particularly typical for densely populated cities.
  • Noise Pollution Issue Investigation The essay defines the problem of noise pollution as quite serious, as harmful sounds can have a negative impact on human health.
  • Providing Solutions for Air Pollution The reasons for air pollution regulations, explaining the concept of averaging time in the U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), explaining emission offsets.
  • Will Banning Plastic Bags Not Solve Pollution Problem? While banning plastic bags is necessary, it remains a controversial issue. This essay aims to prove that this measure is not sufficient.
  • Air Pollution as a Health Risk Factor: Policy Proposal Air pollution is one of the most critical health risk factors. Prolonged exposure to polluted air can result in cancer and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Air Pollution Solutions: How to Improve Air Quality The purpose of this paper is to describe the issue of air pollution and provide potential solutions to minimize its negative consequences and discuss its impact on health.
  • Marine Pollution: Causes and Consequences Changes in marine and ocean conditions can directly affect the global climate because of their close connection to the planet’s energy fluxes and biogeochemical cycles.
  • Plastic Pollution Through the Lens of Social Sciences When analyzing the problem through the lens of social sciences, it becomes clear that the problem of plastic pollution is complicated.
  • The Problem of Plastic Pollution: Negative Impacts The problem of plastic pollution affects biodiversity and human wellness. In particular, birds, animals, and fish die from entanglement and starvation.
  • Plastic Pollution: Study the Problem The problem of plastic pollution has damaged physical health of people around the globe. Social practices can address the problem in a variety of ways.
  • Recent News About Plastic Pollution For discussion of plastic pollution and associated health problem, was presented an article written by Laura Parker (2020) in National Geographic.
  • Reduce Plastic Pollution: What Can We Do Today? This paper gives a detailed analysis of plastic pollution and proposals that different stakeholders and governments can implement to mitigate this predicament.
  • Marine Pollution and Its Anthropogenic Factors This paper examines the causes of the environmental problem of marine pollution, primarily related to anthropogenic factors, and considers its consequences.
  • How Pollution Affects Humans and Environment The purpose of this research paper is to establish the outcome pollution of ways pollution affects humans and the environment as well as ponder upon the ways to combat the issue.
  • Milestone 3: Plastic Pollution Plastic pollution is a global issue that affects every person on our planet directly or indirectly. The problem of plastic pollution became evident in the late 1960s.
  • The World’s Focus On Plastic Pollution People should not pick battles in the global war on ecology. There are numerous issues to tackle, and, according to researchers, humanity does not have a lot of time.
  • The Impact of Air Pollution on Human Health and Well-Being Air pollution causes a wide range of health abnormalities in one’s body. A number of pollutants can cause lung cancer and even some non-lung cancer forms.
  • How Air Pollution Impacts Health Air pollution causes a wide range of serious health abnormalities in one’s body. It severely affects the respiratory system, leading to a number of complications.
  • The Importance of Solving a Social Issue of Environmental Plastic Pollution Plastic single-use cheap objects constitute a large volume of all waste globally, forming big plastic patches in the oceans, seas, and land, thus harming the marine and land wildlife.
  • The Causes of Water Pollution Water pollution is a significant decrease in water resources’ quality due to the ingress of various chemicals and solid waste. The causes of pollution are related to human activities.
  • Air Pollution: Conducting a Quantitative Study In conducting a quantitative study, the major research question would be: “what are the potential contributors to air pollution and how can they be prevented?”
  • Air Pollution Resulting From Small Gas Powered Engines The paper seeks to discuss the effects of small gas-powered engines on air pollution and suggest possible solutions to reduce the levels of air pollution.
  • The Problem of Environmental Water Pollution This paper discusses a public health concern by explaining the causes of water pollution, how it affects human communities, and the possible strategies.
  • The Correlation Between Air Pollution and Health The sampled study analyzes and explains how air pollution affect life expectancy and other measures of health.
  • Role of Small Gas-Powered Engines in Air Pollution The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of small gas-powered engines in air pollution and the associated controversy.
  • Fish Consumption Limits Due to Mercury Pollution Fish is vital in any healthy diet. They are a lean, low-calorie source of protein and are normally recommended by health experts around the world.
  • Plastic Pollution – Problem of Modern World Today, almost every person knows that plastic kills millions of animals every year by entanglement or starvation.
  • Corporations and Environment: Pollution Management in the European Union In this essay, the research is about the pollution management regulations in the European Union with comparison to the other countries in the world.
  • Multidisciplinary Approach to Water Pollution This paper shows how the multidisciplinary approach addresses water pollution as a public health issue. It is important to understand what the model entails.
  • Ozone Pollution Policy in Seoul by Yoo & Chae According to Yoo and Chae, ozone pollution is a serious issue in Seoul, Korea: “The number of ozone warnings has increased from 2 in 1995 to 10 in 1996, to 19 in 1997”.
  • Soil Pollution: Causes and Effects There are two types of soil contamination: specific (occurring in small areas) and widespread (affecting large regions).
  • Air Pollution: Effects Apart from adverse effects on human health, air pollution negatively impacts the environment in various ways. Pneumonia and bronchitis are diseases arising from the air pollution.
  • Hydraulic Fracking and Methane Pollution in the US Hydraulic fracking and methane emissions in the US is a highly contentious matter, and various groups have different positions on the issue.
  • Water Pollution of New York City Rivers The aim of the analysis was to assess the effects of CSOs on water quality and the environment at different sites along the Harlem River.
  • How Pollution Is Poisoning the Leisure and Recreation Industry This paper will critically examine the sources of pollution and how pollution impacts the leisure and recreation industry.
  • Pollution as a Global Challenge Pollution is a global environmental problem that diminishes the quality of life of communities across the world.
  • Community’s Role in Fighting Air Pollution People living in industrial areas form communities and do their best to close industrial plants or force them to reduce the emission of harmful substances.
  • The Problem of Environmental Pollution: Fresh Water One of the more important concerns that are fast becoming a major threat is pollution and no form of pollution seemed to be bigger than that of freshwater pollution.
  • Land Pollution and Ways to Minimize Pollution in the US The biggest environmental challenge that has been witnessed in the US is land pollution – the disposal of material wastes into the soil or substances that can contaminate it.
  • A Threat to the Natural Habitat of Opossums Due to Pollution Because the natural habitat of opossums is gradually decreased due to the human actions, these animals can become a major problem in the cities, where trash is poorly managed.
  • Plastic Pollution in Arizona and Recycling Measures It is advisable to use existing approaches in combination and stay informed of the latest advances in technology to achieve the best effects and prevent the issue from compounding.
  • Air Pollution and Its Consequences The paper states that air pollution has been an increasingly major problem affecting the economy, people’s health, and the environment.
  • Noise Pollution: Potential Solutions Citizens may apply multiple useful cost-effective techniques to reduce noise pollution in their apartments by themselves.
  • The Problem of Ocean Pollution Today One of the main causes of the oceans being polluted is trash that includes various manufactured products like plastic bottles, shopping bags, food wrappers, and cigarettes.
  • The Drastic Effects of Human Pollution on the Environment To deal with pollution, an individual can help a fair share by cleaning up trash after themselves and taking note of the issue around them.
  • Air Pollution in the UAE and Its Management The following project focuses on investigating the problem of air pollution in the UAE and how it can be managed.
  • Outdoor Air Pollution and Uncontrolled Asthma in the San Joaquin Valley, California The study’s purpose was to examine the relationship between air pollution and cases of uncontrolled asthma in the San Joaquin Valley.
  • Water Pollution Effects on Human Health The paper describes the effects of water pollution on human health from the perspective of existing findings on this topic and the assessment of information.
  • Beijing Looks for Answers to Air Pollution Beijing has undertaken various projects aimed at improving the city’s infrastructure, reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants, and reducing vehicle emissions.
  • Noise Pollution and Its Effect on Health This type of pollution is typical for industrial and modern post-industrial society and is most often associated with life in a large city with an active infrastructure.
  • Von Wong on Environmental Pollution Awareness The subject of the study discussed in the following review considers the works of Mr. Wong and their significance in raising environmental awareness.
  • Noise Pollution as a Problem in Los Angeles Los Angeles is a bustling city: cars are humming, construction works are underway, dogs are barking, and music concerts are held outdoors; it does not fall silent at night.
  • Environmental Pollution: Causes and Consequences Environmental pollution is currently one of the most important and prevalent issues in modern life. Every day, a human appears to contribute to the pollution of our green world.
  • Air Pollution in New York City The emissions from cars, buses, trucks and burning of fuels play a significant role in polluting the air in New York City, which becomes harmful to people.
  • Environmental Wellness and Problem of Air Pollution Air pollution is one of the main factors affecting the environment. It can be considered as any change in its properties that has a deleterious effect.
  • Pollution Rights Trading Will Effectively Control Environmental Problems The further use of the cap-and-trade system and its constant perfection can contribute to controlling the environmental issues related to harmful emissions.
  • Pollution and Children’s Health Environmental pollution poses a significant threat to children’s health worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
  • Papahanaumokuakea Plastic Sea Pollution This paper discusses the article devoted to the plastic sea pollution affecting Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monuments.
  • The Effects of Air Pollution The paper addresses air pollution, its causes, significant pollutants, adverse effects of indoor pollutants and air pollution, and air pollution control.
  • Air Pollution Crisis in China and Its Impact on Economy In large industrialized countries such as China, the emission of carbon dioxide has a negative impact on climate conditions, which is hitting the national economy.
  • Air Quality and Pollution: Solution Measures This essay will discuss various policies and measures that can be implemented to facilitate a better quality of air for generations to come.
  • Air Pollution in the United States Environmental problems affect climatic conditions negatively. In this case, we will discuss air pollution. Air pollution introduces harmful substances into the air.
  • The Acid Rain Pollution: Causes and Solutions Acid rain is an environmental problem induced by accumulating acidic compounds in the atmosphere. Acid rain is harmful to the environment in both positive and negative ways.
  • Environmental Pollution in China: Pollution Emissions and Solutions Pollution emissions in China have an extremely negative effect on the whole planet and play one of the primary roles in the adverse state of air and water.
  • Advocacy Regarding Environmental Pollution in Brooklyn This letter is intended to address several points to seek a contribution to the severe problem of environmental pollution because of multiplying businesses in Brooklyn.
  • Environmental Pollution in China During the last years, environmental degradation in China has been becoming severe, but if people and government are aware and involved, it will be possible to improve the situation.
  • Impact of Water Pollution: Water Challenges of an Urbanizing World Water is a source of life on Earth, and it is one of the very first needs of living beings. It is a vital resource for the development of the economic and social sectors.
  • Environmental and Public Health Risks Caused by Plastic Pollution Plastic toxicity is an issue globally. Vulnerability to harmful chemicals used in the manufacture of plastics has detrimental repercussions for human health.
  • Effects of Water Pollution on Human Health This study will evaluate the main causes of water pollution, the effects on human health, and how to mitigate them.
  • Waste Pollution as a Global Environmental Problem Waste pollution is a global environmental problem that threatens life on Earth, as it is associated with the devastation of ecological resources and economic issues.
  • Garbage Pollution’s Impact on Air, Water and Land Garbage pollutes the planet, and to stop this adverse effect, the authorities’ involvement is needed. One solution lies in the plane of economics and politics.
  • Methodological Flaws in Studies of Air Pollution and COVID-19 Death Rates The research reviews the considerations related to studying the correlation between ambient air pollution and its effects on the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Environmental Pollution: Causes and Solutions Pollution of the oceans, depletion of the ozone layer, and air quality in large cities adversely affect the health of people and animals.
  • Air Pollution Crisis and Climate Change in China Air pollution is a serious problem in many countries, including China. The main source of air pollutants is fumes from burning fuels in industries or vehicles.
  • Electric Vehicles: Addressing Air Pollution The environmental damages and air pollution levels are partially the result of the extensive use of vehicles that run on gas. However, electric vehicles can solve this problem.
  • Research Project on Environmental Pollution in Brooklyn The issue of environmental pollution is widespread around the world. People attempt to change the situation with their forces.
  • Water Pollution: Effects and Treatment Pollution of water bodies is a serious hazard to humans and the aquatic ecology, and population growth is hastening climate change.
  • Electric Vehicles: The Roles in Air Pollution The main purpose of electric vehicles is to eliminate the direct contribution to air pollution through emissions.
  • Water Pollution and How to Address It A person must protect nature – in particular water resources. After all, the possibilities of water resources are not unlimited and sooner or later, they may end.
  • The Aerodyne Research Firm: Air Pollution Studies Aerodyne Research is a limited liability company that researches air and air pollution levels, one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues today.
  • Plastic Pollution: Recycle More or Produce Less? It is essential to resist the capitalistic urge to consume and produce more and, among other innovative solutions, scale down the volume of the virgin plastic generated.
  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Air Pollution Mobility changes in all types of indoor and outdoor settings have a substantial long-term influence on CO emissions at the national and regional levels.
  • Air Pollution in South Carolina In South Carolina, one of the most urgent environmental problems is air pollution with ozone and particles, which is hazardous to human health due to deadly diseases likelihood.
  • Environmental Issues: Air Pollution One of the central environmental problems in today’s world is air pollution. With the development of cities, people expand the reach of their technology.
  • Preventing Land Pollution With Effective Measures This paper explores the issue of land pollution, its causes, and the importance of preventative measures and discusses the role of activities aimed at extracting economic benefits.
  • Relationships Between Asthma and Air Pollution
  • Water Pollution and Its Effects on the Environment
  • Causes and Negative Effects of Acid Rain Pollution
  • Environmental Problems and Policies in Kazakhstan: Air Pollution, Waste, and Water
  • Particulate Matter Air Pollution: Effects on the Cardiovascular System
  • Tackling Environmental Pollution With Green Taxes
  • Understanding China’s Urban Pollution Dynamics
  • Types, Effects, and Controls of Air Pollution
  • Environment Pollution Significantly Harms the Species of Dolphin
  • Trees: Water Pollution and Natural Air Filter
  • The Hazardous Acid Rain, a Form of Air Pollution
  • Water Shortage and Pollution of Water Source Crisis
  • Marine Life, Ocean Pollution, and Other Human Environmental Impacts
  • What Can the Public Do to Curb Pollution
  • Analysis Harm and Causes of Noise Pollution
  • Natural Gas, Pollution, and Our Environment
  • Transportation: Pollution and Public Transport Issues
  • Noise Pollution and Control in Heckler & Koch
  • Heat Transfer, Energy Saving and Pollution Control in UHP Electric-Arc Furnaces
  • Water Pollution Filthy Treatment Control Sewage
  • Pollution and General Degradation of the Ecology Biology
  • What Will the Effects Be if We Don’t Stop Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans
  • How Power Plants Around Lake Erie Have Caused Environmental Pollution
  • Controlling Automotive Air Pollution: The Case of Colombo City
  • Forest Fires, Air Pollution, and Mortality in Southeast Asia
  • Air and Water Pollution in New Orleans
  • Valuing Health Impacts From Air Pollution in Europe
  • What Are the Leading Factors of Water Pollution Around the World
  • Coal Pollution Invades Water, Air, and Land
  • Environmental Pollution and Population Health in Russian Regions
  • Valuing the Health Impacts of Air Pollution in Hong Kong
  • Military Training Exercises, Pollution, and Their Consequences for Health
  • Why Air Pollution Can Harm the Environment Dramatically
  • Noise Pollution: Practical Solutions to a Serious Problem
  • The Causes and Effects of Acid Rain, a Form of Air Pollution
  • How Trees Prevent Air Pollution?
  • Haze: Air Pollution and Current Visibility Problems
  • Light Pollution, and the Effects of Light Pollution
  • Global Warming and Its Correlation With the Amount of Pollution Worldwide
  • Industrial Pollution and Export-Oriented Policies in Brazil
  • Policy Implications Toward Green Economics in Pollution Prevention: Theory and Problems in Japan
  • Coral Reef Pollution Can Hurt Bermuda’s Tourism Industry
  • Household Electrification and Indoor Air Pollution
  • Unwatched Pollution: The Effect of Incomplete Monitoring on Air Quality
  • Will Pollution Free Cars Become a Reality of the Near Future
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  • Will COVID-19 Containment and Treatment Measures Drive Shifts in Marine Litter Pollution?
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  • Water Pollution Affects Plants and Organisms Living
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  • State Responsibility for Transboundary Air Pollution in International Law
  • Light Pollution, Sleep Deprivation, and Infant Health at Birth
  • Reducing Air Pollution Through the Use of Oxygenated Gasoline
  • Light Pollution: The Dark Side of Outdoor Lighting
  • Environmental Pollution and Natural Resource Management
  • Air and Water Pollution in Saigon
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  • Indoor Air Pollution and Its Effect on Your Health
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  • Water Scarcity and Pollution: Don’t Let Our Tear Become Last Drop of Water
  • The Factors That Contributes to Pollution and Their Effects on Our World
  • Environmental Regulations, Air and Water Pollution, and Infant Mortality in India
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  • Strategies for Mitigating Air Pollution in Mexico City
  • Factors That Causes Water Pollution and Its Effects on the World Today
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TOP-5 Pollution Research Topics

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StudyCorgi . "229 Pollution Essay Topics + Examples." September 13, 2023.

StudyCorgi . 2023. "229 Pollution Essay Topics + Examples." September 13, 2023.

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These essay examples and topics on Pollution were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.

The essay topic collection was published on November 12, 2021 . Last updated on September 13, 2023 .

  • Ocean Melting Greenland
  • Marine Plastic Pollution
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ocean pollution research paper title

The Chesapeake Bay Plastic Survey is intended to assess the necessity and to generate a baseline for a future monitoring effort for plastics pollution trends in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Awarded the Woodward and Curran’s Impact Grant, Ocean Research Project will assess bay-wide plastic pollution by exploring plastic particle count as a water quality indicator for monitoring future bay health. In cooperation with its partners, ORP hopes to repeat this project biannually to enrich understanding of the Bay-wide magnitude of plastic pollution, export to the ocean, and how that is changing relative to Bay improvements and climate change.

ORP’s study will be the first to determine particle concentration of plastic pollution across the United States’ largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay. The information from this pilot project will be used to inform a dedicated multi-year sampling program by the Chesapeake Bay Program partners at the federal, state, and local levels.

ocean pollution research paper title

The abundance of plastic garbage created by modern human civilization has infiltrated the deepest trenches of the world’s oceans and concentrated in huge areas on its surface. An estimated 5.5 trillion pieces of plastic debris are in the world’s oceans. There are countless sources of this plastic debris, but virtually all of it originates on land through the overuse of plastics in our daily lives and improper waste disposal. Once plastic trash enters the Ocean, nature’s forces and the migration of marine species and birds determine how the plastic material and chemical compounds move and accumulate through the complex marine environment, including the food chain and the Plastisphere. Much of this plastic debris is concentrated at the centers of enormous oceanic current circulation regions, called gyres.

We know a little more about chemical transfer risk in the sea food chain. Check out our collaborative publication in Marine Pollution Bulletin to find out more… Here

To better understand the nature of plastic debris in the Ocean, ORP has conducted multiple research expeditions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. ORP completed its first marine debris research expedition in 2013. During this trip, its crew spent 70 days sailing in the Atlantic Ocean, collecting samples of plastic trash in the water and mapping out the eastern side of the North Atlantic garbage patch. The following year, ORP embarked upon a second expedition to research microplastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean. During this trip, ORP’s crew sailed 6,800 miles nonstop from San Francisco to Yokohama, Japan, collecting microplastic samples along the trans-pacific route.

Due to the flexibility offered by doing research from a sailboat, ORP’s expeditions could dedicate more time to collecting data samples across a much broader area than other similar types of marine research expeditions would typically cover. ORP’s research has provided an essential baseline for marine surface debris data and improved knowledge of the concentration, composition, and extent of plastic debris in the Ocean. ORP conducted its research to ensure the samples could be used to support further research being done as part of plastic pellet toxicity studies at the University of Tokyo’s Pelletwatch program. In addition, ORP’s research was designed to allow ORP and participating scientists to define further the diversity of the Plastisphere, specifically the roles played by bacteria and viruses in their evolving relationships with plastic debris in the Ocean.

ocean pollution research paper title

ORP’s research expeditions targeting the investigation of northern hemisphere subtropical gyres of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and well as the western Arctic’s plastic pollution in the marine environment have helped increase the scientific community’s understanding of plastic’s pollution’s pervasive distribution across oceans from the sea ice to the seabed. The extensive datasets and that ORP collected, processed and regional interpretation during these expeditions contributed to the following publications:

  • Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea  
  • PCBs and PBDEs in microplastic particles and zooplankton in open water in the Pacific Ocean and around the coast of Japan
  • Mitigation strategies to reverse the rising trend of plastics in Polar Regions

ocean pollution research paper title

To date, ORP has sailed tens of thousands of miles, spent many months at sea, and a considerable amount of time in labs back on land sorting the samples and data. During our extended periods of time at sea, there was not one day that went by where we did not see foraging birds mistaking marine debris for food. The fight to prevent pollution from plastic debris in the ocean is best fought at the primary source, on land. Education is a critical element of this effort to increase public awareness and encourage proper disposal of plastic trash along with reduced use of plastics ( link to ORP’s education page ).


Marine pollution.

Marine pollution is a combination of chemicals and trash, most of which comes from land sources and is washed or blown into the ocean. This pollution results in damage to the environment, to the health of all organisms, and to economic structures worldwide.

Biology, Ecology, Earth Science, Oceanography

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Morgan Stanley

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  • Marine Pollution (Google Doc)

Marine pollution is a growing problem in today’s world. Our ocean is being flooded with two main types of pollution: chemicals and trash.

Chemical contamination, or nutrient pollution, is concerning for health, environmental, and economic reasons. This type of pollution occurs when human activities, notably the use of fertilizer on farms, lead to the runoff of chemicals into waterways that ultimately flow into the ocean. The increased concentration of chemicals, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, in the coastal ocean promotes the growth of algal blooms , which can be toxic to wildlife and harmful to humans. The negative effects on health and the environment caused by algal blooms hurt local fishing and tourism industries.

Marine trash encompasses all manufactured products—most of them plastic —that end up in the ocean. Littering, storm winds, and poor waste management all contribute to the accumulation of this debris , 80 percent of which comes from sources on land. Common types of marine debris include various plastic items like shopping bags and beverage bottles, along with cigarette butts, bottle caps, food wrappers, and fishing gear. Plastic waste is particularly problematic as a pollutant because it is so long-lasting. Plastic items can take hundreds of years to decompose.

This trash poses dangers to both humans and animals. Fish become tangled and injured in the debris , and some animals mistake items like plastic bags for food and eat them. Small organisms feed on tiny bits of broken-down plastic , called micro plastic , and absorb the chemicals from the plastic into their tissues. Micro plastics are less than five millimeters (0.2 inches) in diameter and have been detected in a range of marine species, including plankton and whales. When small organisms that consume micro plastics are eaten by larger animals, the toxic chemicals then become part of their tissues. In this way, the micro plastic pollution migrates up the food chain , eventually becoming part of the food that humans eat.

Solutions for marine pollution include prevention and cleanup. Disposable and single-use plastic is abundantly used in today’s society, from shopping bags to shipping packaging to plastic bottles. Changing society’s approach to plastic use will be a long and economically challenging process. Cleanup, in contrast, may be impossible for some items. Many types of debris (including some plastics ) do not float, so they are lost deep in the ocean. Plastics that do float tend to collect in large “patches” in ocean gyres. The Pacific Garbage Patch is one example of such a collection, with plastics and micro plastics floating on and below the surface of swirling ocean currents between California and Hawaii in an area of about 1.6 million square kilometers (617,763 square miles), although its size is not fixed. These patches are less like islands of trash and, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says, more like flecks of micro plastic pepper swirling around an ocean soup. Even some promising solutions are inadequate for combating marine pollution. So-called “ biodegradable ” plastics often break down only at temperatures higher than will ever be reached in the ocean.

Nonetheless, many countries are taking action. According to a 2018 report from the United Nations, more than sixty countries have enacted regulations to limit or ban the use of disposable plastic items. The National Geographic Society is making this content available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA license . The License excludes the National Geographic Logo (meaning the words National Geographic + the Yellow Border Logo) and any images that are included as part of each content piece. For clarity the Logo and images may not be removed, altered, or changed in any way.

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106 Marine Life Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best marine life topic ideas & essay examples, 👍 good essay topics on marine life, ⭐ simple & easy marine life essay titles, 💯 free marine life essay topic generator.

  • Policy Change to Control Ocean Dumping Policies addressing the issue of ocean dumping and the need to curb it have been in place. Several factors fueled the change; for instance, change in the information concerning the effect of ocean dumping to […]
  • Ocean Currents: General Information There are generally two types of ocean currents depending on the water level where the movement of oceanic water takes place and they are the deep ocean currents and the surface ocean currents.
  • Deep Sea Volcanoes and their Effects Deep sea volcanoes are present under deep sea ridges of the ocean floor and the above research has been based on the amount of carbon dioxide that is present in depths of four kilometers on […]
  • The Ocean’s Rarest Mammal Vaquita – An Endangered Species The vaquita looks like a curved stocky porpoise, and it is the smallest of all the porpoises in the world. This is a matter of concern and ought to be investigated if the survival of […]
  • Global Warming Outcomes and Sea-Level Changes The outcome of global warming has been exhibited by the melting of ice and snows in areas such as the Antarctic which has changed the average sea level of the whole world because the ice […]
  • Ocean Pollution and the Fishing Industry In essence, the activities of over six billion people in the world are threatening the survival and quality of water found in the oceans, lakes and other inland water catchment areas.
  • The Difficulties in Exploiting Sea Floor Massive Sulfide Deposits However, the difficulties involved in exploring the minerals have been the greatest obstacles to the full exploration of sea floor mineral deposits such as sulphide. The regulatory environment is the other issue of concern in […]
  • Climate Shift Could Leave Some Marine Species Homeless This is very important as it helps put pressure on countries to reduce on carbon release, in order to conserve the environment and hence species at risk.

  • Impact of the Toxic Substances on Marine Ecosystem The condition of hypoxia is created when algal biomass decompose leading to dissolution of oxygen in the water column. While, on the other hand, farming of Bluefin tuna leads to destruction of marine life as […]
  • Plastic Ocean Pollution on Ocean life in U.S Ocean plastic pollution has had a great impact on a minimum of two hundred and sixty seven species across the world and these include forty three percent of all of the sea mammal species, eighty […]
  • The Problem of Ocean Pollution in Modern World Wastes such as toxic matter, plastics, and human wastes are some of the major sources of pollution in the ocean. Many people consume fish as food; when marine life is affected by toxic substance in […]
  • The Impacts of Oil Spills on Marine Life The intensity of aquatic effects is influenced by the nature and extent of the spilt oil. Besides, the severity might be influenced by the sensitivity and ambient state of the pretentious marine and their surroundings […]
  • Living Resources of the Ocean The most commendable among the benefits of marine life to human life are the fact that marine life can act as food and the fact that some oceanic organisms have medicinal value.
  • Marine Conservation and Coastal Development The committee should comprise of a balanced membership for holistic review of the coastal development projects. The lack of legislation related to marine conservation is also a major setback.
  • Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Reefs This essay addresses some of the disturbances which have been experienced in the coral reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary together with measures which have been implemented to salvage the ecosystem.
  • Ocean Fisheries Sustainability Analysis It is necessary for fishing industries to use better fishing methods in the ocean to ensure that their activities do not endanger the ecological balance. Fish species do not get the chance to replenish and […]
  • The Global Ocean Conveyor Belt This ocean water phenomenon is a result of the temperature difference in the ocean waters between the warm, salty surface water, and the less salty cold water in the ocean depths.
  • The Role of Sea Power in International Trade The historical influence that the marines or the navy has had on international trade and the complications in comparing measures of sea power has been issues of discussion in the past.
  • Ocean and Atmosphere Circulation Oceanic and atmospheric circulation is the means by which heat is distributed on the surface of the Earth by large scale circulation of air.
  • Ocean Literacy and Exploration From the onset of “human-ocean interaction and exploration in the fifteenth century” and despite ocean being the largest feature of the earth, only 5% of the ocean is known.
  • Ecology Issues: Creatures of the Deep Sea Discuss the negative changes that are occurring and the cause of these changes In the recent past, the temperature on the earth has been rising steadily due to the effect of global warming.
  • Marine Parks Concept Overview In terms of marine tourism, aquatic parks offer the best solution for tourists because they are cheaper than watching animals in the sea.
  • Climate Change Impacts on Ocean Life The destruction of the ozone layer has led to the exposure of the earth to harmful radiation from the sun. The rising temperatures in the oceans hinder the upward flow of nutrients from the seabed […]
  • Ocean Acidification: Marine Calcification Process This article correlates calcium with oceanography because the process of acidification, which causes the ocean’s pH to decrease because of excess carbon from the atmosphere, has impacts on calcifying organisms in the oceans.
  • Marine Ecosystems in Oceanography Studies While oceanography students need to understand these aspects of ocean management, this paper focused on marine ecosystems, as a broad and useful topic in oceanography studies.
  • The Aral Sea’s Environmental Issues Prior to its destruction, the Sea was one of the biggest water bodies, rich in different species of flora and fauna; a case that is opposite today, as the sea is almost becoming extinct.
  • El Niño’s Effects on Marine Life El Nino makes the winds of the east blow to the west and moves the layers of warm water in the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Ocean Pollution Problem Overview Ocean pollution is the unfavorable upshot due to the entrance of chemicals and particulate substances into the ocean. The land is the key source of ocean pollution in the form of non-point water pollution.
  • Marine Biodiversity Conservation and Impure Public Goods The fact that the issue concerning the global marine biodiversity and the effects that impure public goods may possibly have on these rates can lead to the development of a range of externalities that should […]
  • Marine Pollution and the Anthropogenic Effects Upon It Marine pollution denotes the introduction of harmful materials or chemicals in our oceans which may disrupt the marine ecosystem, cause other harmful effects to marine life or change the chemical properties of the water.
  • Pacific Ocean: Essentials of Oceanography The ocean has about 25,000 islands which are in excess of the entire number islands in all the oceans across the world. The volume of water in the ocean is about 622 million km3.
  • Deep Sea Mining: Salt Extraction This therefore shows how important the process of evaporation is in regard to extraction of salt from the sea. This therefore explains that sea water is a cheap source of salt in terms of time […]
  • Ocean Acidification Impact on the Sea Urchin Larval Growth Due to the carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere, acidity in the oceans is increasing++ and a fast increase of change rate is experienced.
  • SOFAR Effects on the Marine Life The speed and energy of the sounds that are transmitted in the SOFAR channel are maintained without being altered because of the pressure, which increases with increase in depth.
  • The Dead Sea Geochemical History Globally, the most saline location is found on the water surfaces and shores of the Dead Sea. On the other hand, the pattern of fluctuation in temperature and salinity in the Arctic Ocean is complex.
  • National Marine Fishery Service Business Projects Within a fishery management context, the report primarily focuses on the provisions of the Magnuson-Steven Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act issues in 2006.
  • Marine Life in United Arab Emirates This report analyses the marine life in the UAE, covering detailed information about the various species of animals found in the region and their adaptation to the unique environment.
  • Water Crisis, Oceans and Sea Turtles Issues In the case of Mexico, it appears that the past regimes have never put a lot of focus on the utilization of water resources.
  • The Northern Sea Route’ Safety Management The company discusses the opportunity to trade some of the vessels with the help of the NSR. The NSR is discussed as an attractive option to decrease the time spent in the voyage while comparing […]
  • Marine Ecosystems, Human Dependence and Impact The growth of communities dependent on fishing is proportional to the destruction of marine ecosystems. The survival of the human race, and the survival of millions of species of wildlife is dependent on a healthy […]
  • Plastic Waste and Its Effects on Marine Life However, many people do not appreciate the importance of oceans to human and marine life. Another effect of microplastics on the marine community is that they lead to uneven distribution of organisms.
  • Marine Geology, Hydrology and Human Impact on Earth However, the implementation of the new technologies and practices in the process of investigation of the sea depths resulted in the appearance of the new meaning.
  • Climate Change Effects on Ocean Acidification The scientists realized that the crisis lasted for several millennia before the oceans could fully recover from the impacts of the drop in the pH level.
  • Deep-Sea Currents and Upwelling Along Florida The thermohaline circulation influences the movement and population of the marine ecosystem and heat redistribution both in the sea and on the earth’s surface.
  • Impact of Sea Transport on the Aquatic Environment The shipping companies also have a serious impact on the maritime environment in terms of the wastes often released into the water.
  • “Manifest Destiny”: Westward Expansion to the Pacific Ocean The concept of Manifest Destiny elucidates the states of mind of many expansionist principle makers of the period who worked hard in an attempt to push America’s borders towards the west.
  • Ocean-Plate Tectonics and Geology Bathymetry of the ocean seafloor refers to the measurement of how deep the sea is in relation to the sea level.
  • Marine Algae Associated Bacteria as Antioxidants The antinociceptive activity analysis involved comparing the reaction time of mice treated with the extracts and the controls. The authors conclude that the isolation and characterization of the bioactive principles from the potent strains could […]
  • Geology: Port Phillip Bay and Sea Level Changes Specifically, the fossils of specific creatures, such as the shells of tertiary foraminifera, as well as the meanders of the river channels, which were located in the area, are bound to bolster the hypothesis suggested […]
  • Port Philip Bay and Sea Levels in Australia’s Geological History As the scientist explains, the phenomenon of the port’s emergence in the dry environment can be attributed to the fact that considerable water shrinkage could be observed in the area roughly 1,000 years ago.
  • Hudson River’s Ocean Floor Investigation Mapping the ocean floor of the Hudson River would enable the analysis of sediments and the bottom surface hardness as well as would provide data on bottom features and the depth of the river.
  • Marine Degradation and Solutions in the Pacific Region The second issue related to the degradation of marine resources in the Pacific region is the unsustainable use of marine resources, including destructive fishing, which leads to changes in the number and health of species.
  • Ocean and Motiongate Amusement Parks’ Comparison These parks can be found around the globe; for example, Ocean Park is a leading amusement park in Hong Kong, and Motiongate Amusement Park in Dubai offers similar services in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Concerns of Ocean Ecosystem Pollution The range of adverse outcomes for ocean ecosystems can be discussed in volumes; however, the current discussion will focus on trash in the ocean waters, acidification, and the disruption of the marine life cycles.
  • Marine Pollution: Sources, Types, Pathways, and Status By examining sources, types, pathways, and status of water contamination in the context of the World Ocean, it is clear that most marine pollution caused by human actions, especially the mismanagement of plastic debris.
  • Marine Pollution: Management and International Legislation Marine environment refers to: the physical, chemical, geological and biological components, conditions and factors which interact and determine the productivity of, state, condition and quality of the marine ecosystem, the waters of the seas and […]
  • Marine Biology: Polar Oceans as an Eco System The water in and around the Antarctic continent is referred to as the Antarctic or Southern Ocean. The Atlantic Water is situated between the Arctic Surface Water and the Arctic Deep Water.
  • Radiocarbon C14 Dating in Marine Geology The radiocarbon technique can say to be one of the most important inventions of the 20th century, especially in the field of human science.
  • Review of the Quaternary History of Reefs in the Red Sea With Reference to Past Sea-Level Changes Some of the changes have occurred on the very grandest of scales, such as the Merging and ensuing breaking up of huge supercontinents, or the decimation of the dinosaurs by extra-terrestrial impacts.reefs are not invulnerable […]
  • Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion The warm seawater is carried into a chamber and is used to produce vapor that, in turn, is used to rotate a turbine.
  • Protected Marine Areas: Great Barrier Reef To protect the Great Barrier Reef the administration has put in place several policies to protect this region. In this plan, A panel of scientists was to advise on the quality of waste.
  • Ocean Circulation in a Warming Climate These effects will enhance the development of reduced release of radio-carbon depleted carbon dioxide gas and thus the idea of the self-restoration mechanism of the earth to this global warming.
  • A Benchmarking Biodiversity Survey of the Inter-tidal Zone at Goat Island Bay, Leigh Marine Laboratory Within each quadrant, the common species were counted or, in the case of seaweed and moss, proliferation estimated as a percentage of the quadrant occupied.
  • Improving the Response to Marine Emergencies However, we still need to facilitate this process, for instance, by informing the National Fire Service about the implementation of this project and its results. These are the most objectives that have to be attained […]
  • Intergovernmental Relations and Ocean Policy Change The administration of Ronald Reagan contributed to the Federal ocean policy in the 1980s. During this change, analysts believed the United States was making a shift from ocean protection of the 1970s to ocean management […]
  • High Seas Marine Protected Areas: Effective Legislation or Paper Parks This essay dwells on the definition and importance of MPAs, including the ones in the high sea. The goal of the alliance is to bolster international collaboration and exchange of knowledge.
  • Dell’s Initiative to Recycle Ocean-Bound Plastics The innovation to use plastics from the ocean and areas where these materials had a high risk of moving to the water was presented to the company in 2015.
  • How Climate Change Impacts Ocean Temperature and Marine Life The ocean’s surface consumes the excess heat from the air, which leads to significant issues in all of the planet’s ecosystems.
  • The Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 and Its Consequences The worst effects of the great wave were observed in Indonesia, where the death toll exceeded 160,000 people, and the overall damages almost reached $4.
  • The Aral Sea Problems, Their Causes and Consequences To identify and analyze the problems of the lake, its basin, and the entire region To discuss the causes and consequences of the lake’s destruction To evaluate the solutions proposed for ameliorating the consequences The […]
  • Sea Otters’ Life Cycle From Birth to Death However, after the species had almost become extinct and their protection began, the species began to recover and towards the close of the 20th century, conservation had given rise to tens of thousands of sea […]
  • Life in the Bottom of the Ocean and Its Protection While we all strive hard to detect and analyze the essence of life and the impact it has on our lives, we need to understand that life in itself is a big mystery, the truth […]
  • Marine Surveying, Inspection and Safety Practices The importance of these conventions and rules was to address the need to access different ports in different countries based on uniform rules and standards acceptable to destination ports or countries in addition to maintaining […]
  • Ecotoxicology: Toxic Wastes in the Marmara Sea The importance and actuality of the paper can not be exaggerated, as the problem of toxic wastes is one of the most burning in Europe.
  • Bacterial Diseases of Marine Organisms The striped dolphin is a highly susceptible host of the bacteria and poses and the most potent reservoir and source of transmission of the infectious agent.
  • Deep-Sea Biology: The Search for a Sea Monster This case study is about the attempts of Clyde Roper to find the giant squid. This canyon is known to be very deep and runs towards the Kermadec Trench which is also documented to be […]
  • Effects of Global Warming on Marine Life Global warming has adverse effects on the marine life. It has led to the extinction of some of the animals and living things and has been necessitated by human activities.
  • How the Ocean Current Affect Animals’ Life in the Sea Depending on the strength of the ocean current, sea animals along the path are flown along with the water, and the animals are moved to new regions that are sometimes thousands of kilometers away causing […]
  • Effect of Sea Water and Corrosion on Concrete On the other hand, substantial tautness, for instance due to meandering will shatter the tiny firm pattern, ending up in fracturing and disjointing of the concrete.
  • Environmental Marine Ecosystems: Biological Invasions One of the biggest hypoxic zones in the US is in the Gulf of Mexico. The condition of water in the area caused the decline of the shrimp industry.
  • Marine Protected Areas: Impact on Kelp Forest Recovery and Urchin Reduction The research aims to study the effectiveness of MPA for kelp forest recovery and urchin reduction. The research aims to study the effectiveness of MPA for kelp forest recovery and urchin reduction.
  • Plastic Ocean and Its Effect on the Ecosystem The purpose of this essay is to present science-based facts in support of the author’s words to convince the reader of the criticality of the ecological problem.
  • “History of Ocean Basins” by Hess From the article it is vivid that the coming into being of oceans is subject to discussion since the previous knowledge is doubtful, and the existing framework is confusing.
  • Ocean Circulation and Biogeography, Species Distribution, Invasive Species The concept of ocean circulation refers to the movements of water in the oceans and seas. Surface ocean currents carry water from the poles to the tropics, where it is heated, and, afterwards, this water […]
  • Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 342 Such flows reduce the temperature of the planet’s core, change the composition of the foundation bedrock, and impact microorganism dispersion in the subterranean ecosystem.
  • Marine Creatures and Terrestrial Animals in “The Wild West: Gold Rush” In fact, Californian nature is rich in various animal species that live to survive and pass their genes to the offspring.
  • Marine Environment Protection and Management in the Shipping Industry Therefore, criminal penalties system in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency should reinforce legislations to protect sea creatures and humans from oil pollution or wastes from ships.
  • Australia’s Endangered Diverse Marine Ecosystem Climate Change and population increase are becoming increasingly difficult to perceive distinctly, especially when the question is about the loss of a diverse marine environment.
  • The Ocean Dumping Problem: A Visual Argument There is, however, less awareness of deep-sea drilling and the impacts on the habitat and human life in the oceans and along the coasts.
  • Ocean Dumping Issue and Rhetorical Rationale Therefore, the goal of this paper is to prove that the poster in question manages to accomplish an impressive goal of subverting the audience’s expectation and encouraging them to shift from an ironic perception of […]
  • Habitat and Ocean Life Considerations of Bottlenose Dolphins The temperate and tropical oceans of the world are home to bottlenose dolphins. On the American continent, bottlenose dolphins can be seen along California’s southern beaches and the eastern seaboard from Massachusetts to Florida, and […]
  • Financial Management in the Marine Industry Below, the arguments in favor of the combination of using private funds and bank loans in the framework of investing in the mentioned vessel will be provided.
  • The Rising of Sea Level and Melting Glaciers: Analysis of the Issues In modern realities, the rate of warming of the World’s Oceans has increased. Global warming provokes the melting of ice in Greenland and Antarctica.
  • Non-trophic Interaction in Marine Species An example of non-trophic relationships between marine species is decorator crabs and sponges. Decorator crabs and sponges’ relations are an example of mutually helpful non-trophic interaction mutualism.
  • Visiting San Francisco Bay as Marine Protected Area San Francisco Bay Bridge will become the central place for this trip because it is just in the center of this view.
  • How Deep Sea Discoveries Inspires Professional Creativity Limited technological access to the deep seas should inspire one to focus on the necessary technology to build the most efficient deep-sea robots.
  • Sea Foods in the Environment Protection Context Further, the purpose of the website is to give information that seeks to reward the efforts of people who protect and safeguard the ocean and seafood supplies such as lobsters.
  • Addressing Marine Debris: Causes, Effects, and Potential Solutions A major limitation that makes the eradication of the problem difficult is the fact that most of the debris contains microplastic.
  • Mining and Ocean Use in Canada Cobalt, nickel, manganese, and copper are among the metals deep seabed mining seeks to extract from the polymetallic nodules on the seafloor and seamounts.
  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden The role of the ICZM in the control of environmental, transport, industrial, and other types of safety is high, and the example of the RSGA region proves this.
  • Ocean Sustainability and Human Economic Activity The world economy and the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people depend on the ocean. It is important to remember that the misuse of water resources and the effects of global climate change will […]
  • The Sea Water Impact on the Human Cell Hence, consuming it causes a high amount of salt without the human cell, which leads to a steep concentration gradient within the cell, thereby causing water to be drawn out, which is detrimental to the […]
  • Autonomous Platforms in Marine Research One of the significant ideas that can increase the overall efficiency of the data collection process is the creation of networks of autonomous platforms.
  • Exploring Environmental Issues: Marine Ecotourism For marine ecotourism to succeed, it must thrive in a manner that accommodates the needs of both the current and future generations and safeguards the natural environment.
  • The Foxtrot Marines Boarding in the Territorial Sea This was right because Delta, a country that claims a twelve nautical international waters, has agreed to the usage of the blue straits to other countries and is ready to allow humanitarian aid to traverse […]
  • Impacts of Climate Change on Ocean The development of phytoplankton is sensitive to the temperature of the ocean. Some marine life is leaving the ocean due to the rising water temperature.
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IvyPanda. (2023, September 20). 106 Marine Life Essay Topic Ideas & Examples.

"106 Marine Life Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." IvyPanda , 20 Sept. 2023,

IvyPanda . (2023) '106 Marine Life Essay Topic Ideas & Examples'. 20 September.

IvyPanda . 2023. "106 Marine Life Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." September 20, 2023.

1. IvyPanda . "106 Marine Life Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." September 20, 2023.


IvyPanda . "106 Marine Life Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." September 20, 2023.

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