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Scientific challenges and policy needs
Moore, M.N.; Owen, R.; Depledge, M.H. (2011). Scientific challenges and policy needs, in: Hester, R.E. et al. (Ed.) Marine pollution and human health. Issues in Environmental Science and Technology, 33: pp. 128-163.
In: Hester, R.E.; Harrison, R.M. (Ed.) (2011). Marine pollution and human health. Issues in Environmental Science and Technology, 33. Royal Society of Chemistry: Cambridge. ISBN 978-1-84973-240-6. xiv, 168 pp., more
In: Issues in Environmental Science and Technology. RSC Publishing: Cambridge. ISSN 1350-7583, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Moore, M.N.
  • Owen, R.
  • Depledge, M.H.

    A key determinant of the quality and sustainability of the coastal marine environment is the dramatic growth of the human population, in particular along the global coastal zone, over the course of the last century. Burgeoning population growth, often as a result of reduced infant mortality and migration from rural communities, has created unprecedented social and economic demands for food resources, both in fisheries and aquaculture, while poor governance in respect of haphazard urbanisation and industrialisation and poorly regulated waste management have contributed extensively to the degradation of coastal ecosystems. Human health and wellbeing are consequently at risk from the resultant increased burdens of bacterial and viral pathogens from sewage and agricultural faecal run-off, as well as chemical and particulate waste from a variety of sources such as industry, domestic effluent, combustion processes, agricultural run-off of pesticides and nutrients, transport and road run-off. Unless policy formulation recognises that expansion of the human populations is often a key causative factor in the degradation of the coastal marine environment and related human health risks, and develops effective sustainability and mitigation strategies to deal with this, then any other actions will only provide expensive stop-gap solutions that are essentially ‘papering over the cracks’. A recognition of the complex nature of the connectivity of the coastal marine environment with public health is critical for understanding the relationships involved.

    A holistic systems approach such as Integrated Coastal Zone Management is necessary to address the highly interconnected scientific challenges of increased human population pressure, pollution and over-exploitation of food (and other) resources as drivers of adverse ecological, social and economic impacts, and the urgent and critical requirement for effective public health solutions to be developed through the formulation of politically and environmentally meaningful policies. Since coastal zone environmental problems and related health and socio-economic issues are trans-national in character, the demands on regulation and governance go well beyond the actions of a single government and will require integrated action on a regional and global scale by national governments and stakeholders (e.g. non-governmental organisations), regional organisations (e.g. European Union) and international organisations (e.g. United Nations).

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