Marine Pollution in the United States

  • February 12, 2001
  • By Donald F. Boesch, Richard H. Burroughs, Joel E. Baker, Robert P. Mason, Christopher L. Rowe, and Ronald L. Siefert

This report provides background on the effects of pollution on life in the ocean and coastal waters of the United States for the Pew Oceans Commission.

The report first reviews accomplishments in reducing marine pollution, and then highlights the need for further reductions in the effects of toxic substances and nutrients as remaining major challenges. Diffuse sources of pollution via land runoff and atmospheric deposition are particularly important and have proved difficult to control. To provide grounding for policies needed to restore and protect living marine resources, the report: describes the forms, sources, movements, and effects of pollutants; assesses past and future trends of pollution in the U.S.; considers additional steps that could reduce pollution; and places pollution threats into a broader context of other threats to living resources.