Industrial waste, bacteria, treated and untreated sewage and other toxic materials are seeping into the bathing waters of Mediterranean beaches and into foods taken from the sea for human consumption, according to the First Report of the EU-funded Mare Nostrum Project.
The report, entitled, Existing Knowledge on Legal-Institutional Frameworks for Coastline Management: The International, EU and National Levels, warns that industrial pollution is responsible for the accumulation of mercury, zinc, cadmium, copper and other heavy metals in seawater and marine organisms, which may lead to serious health risks for humans.
“Organic and microbiological pollutants from untreated domestic and industrial wastewater discharges affect directly the quality of bathing water,” according to the report.
The report adds that such materials “can not only result in the deterioration of habitats and ecosystems, but also present another threat to human health,” noting that pathogenic bacteria and viruses enter bathing waters and contaminate seafood this way.
However, the report noted one bright spot in an otherwise bleak picture. Though “hotspots” can be found along the coasts of southern France and the Catalan region of Spain, the level of PCB contamination has been declining for several decades. This is thanks to legislation dating from the 1970s that restricts the manufacture and use of PCBs.Leave a reply →