Regional Nutrients Strategy and Action Plan Concept Paper. Fourth Meeting of the Scientific, Technical and Advisory Committee (STAC) to the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities in the Wider Caribbean.
The issue of nutrient pollution in the form of excess nitrogen and phosphorus flows to the marine environment has gradually gained prominence given the growing ecological and socio-economic impacts in coastal and marine ecosystems. An estimated 80% of marine pollution originates from land-based sources that include wastewater, nutrients and sediment loadings. Deoxygenation and hypoxia in coastal waters due to land-based pollution has increased exponentially since the 1960s and is estimated to cover an area of about 245,000 km2 worldwide (UN DOALOS, 2016)1 with over 700 eutrophic and hypoxic coastal systems worldwide (Diaz et al., 2010). Of these, at least 169 coastal areas are considered hypoxic, with dead zones especially prevalent in the seas around South East Asia, Europe and eastern North America. According to the Transboundary Assessment Programme (TWAP)2 of the 63 large marine ecosystems (LMEs) assessed under the Programme, some 16% are in the ‘high’ or ‘highest’ risk categories for coastal eutrophication. They are mainly in Western Europe and southern and eastern Asia, and the Gulf of Mexico (IOC-UNESCO and UNEP, 2016).
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