Chemical pollution, forgotten from bathing water quality follow-up


Coral, fish, plankton, crustaceans: this is how you picture the ocean floor, a deep and mysterious world, populated with animal and vegetal species of all kinds. But today, aquatic biodiversity is plummeting, especially in coastal regions as they endure the impact of our anthropic emissions and residues, for way too long. In just 50 years, the rate of marine biodiversity depletion has more than doubled, and by 2100, more than half of marine species will be close to extinction. Surfrider Europe highlights its fight against chemical ocean pollution through a didactic and entertaining video.  

What is chemical pollution exactly? 

Industrial, but also domestic, agricultural or medical, chemical pollution has several sources. It contaminates, soils, lakes, and rivers before ending in the ocean, and is deeply detrimental to marine life. Unfortunately, this contamination from various origins represents our lifestyles. First, it comes from transportation: boats, trucks, cars and planes, each and every one of them consumes and rejects hydrocarbons in the environment. These hydrocarbons run down drainage basins and infiltrate the soil before reaching the ocean. The second source of chemical pollution is medicine, knowing France is the 4th biggest consumer of these products worldwide. Made up of a cocktail of different chemicals and used excessively in today’s culture, residue from medicine often passes through waste water facilities untreated and is released into the natural environment. The last source is agriculture, in the form of pesticides and fertilizers. Often misused, they penetrate through soil, enter the ground water and inevitably reach the Ocean. Dangerous for marine life, chemical pollution shouldn’t be discarded from health stakes. Ocean recreational communities are to be informed on their exposure to contaminated sources and the potential risks linked to the presence of these substances in natural environments.  

A subject at the heart of Surfrider Europe’s claims 

Supported by years of expertise on the subject, Surfrider Europe expresses the importance of taking this type of pollution in consideration while talking about bathing water quality monitoring. As a member of the European Commission expert group on bathing water, and in the framework of the water quality directive revision expected in 2020/2021, the NGO highlights, the importance of integrating new follow-up parameters, such as chemical pollution, which is still not part of the criteria guiding laws related to bathing water quality surveillance. Currently, the directive focuses mainly on bacteriologic pollution.   

In the framework of this revision, and as in each conducted fight, Surfrider Europe is not acting alone. A survey is still on-going in order to better understand the profiles of ocean users. Each answer will be valued and will be used as an argument in order to better consolidate the association’s positioning on the bathing water quality directive revision. Swimmers, surfers, kayakers or divers, everyone has their say!  

For more information on chemical pollution, please visit the water quality dedicated page on Ocean Campus platform.

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