A Sea of Hazards

A Sea of Hazards

Today, more than half-a-century later, environmental pollution—air, land, and water combined—is responsible for an estimated nine million premature deaths per year. In our oceans, pollution takes a variety of forms: toxic metals, industrial chemicals, and microplastics, to name a few. “Ocean pollutants are a critical aspect of environmental pollution as a whole, given their ability to bioaccumulate and move through the marine food web,” says John Stegeman. This is because large predator fish like tuna can accumulate 10 million times as much mercury as the waters they swim in. Mercury pollution stems from activities like burning coal, making cement, gold mining, and in the case of the Minamata disaster, chemical dumping.

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