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Ocean Pollutants Guide: Toxic Threats to Human Health and Marine Life

October 1, 2018

Marine pollutants are impacting the health of our oceans, their inhabitants and those dependent on oceans for food, culture and their very survival. Everyday an ever-increasing cocktail of intentional and unintentional chemical releases, as well as an unrelenting tidal wave of wastes, particularly plastic waste, enters our waterways and the marine environment.Ocean pollutants include persistent organic pollutants (POPs), endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), mercury and heavy metal compounds, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, oil, plastic wastes and their related chemicals (e.g., BPA, phthalates), personal care products and other industrial and agricultural emissions. We are only just becoming aware of the identity, volume and scope of many ocean pollutants. Their hazards and complex ecological interactions are still unknown.Many ocean pollutants do not have human health data or environmental fate information, and our understanding of the long-term impacts of endocrine disrupting chemicals on the reproduction and behaviour of fish and other marine organisms is still in its infancy.Chemicals enter the marine environment via atmospheric transport, runoff into waterways or by direct disposal into the ocean. It is estimated that 80% of marine chemical pollution originates on land. The vast majority of the global land surface is connected to the marine environment via river systems, so chemical and plastics pollution of rivers is inextricably linked with ocean pollution.

Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

January 1, 2012

This Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) has been jointly coordinated by Working Groups I (WGI) and II (WGII) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report focuses on the relationship between climate change and extreme weather and climate events, the impacts of such events, and the strategies to manage the associated risks. The IPCC was jointly established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in particular to assess in a comprehensive, objective, and transparent manner all the relevant scientific, technical, and socioeconomic information to contribute in understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, the potential impacts, and the adaptation and mitigation options. Beginning in 1990, the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports, Special Reports, Technical Papers, methodologies, and other key documents which have since become the standard references for policymakers and scientists.This Special Report, in particular, contributes to frame the challenge of dealing with extreme weather and climate events as an issue in decisionmaking under uncertainty, analyzing response in the context of risk management. The report consists of nine chapters, covering risk management; observed and projected changes in extreme weather and climate events; exposure and vulnerability to as well as losses resulting from such events; adaptation options from the local to the international scale; the role of sustainable development in modulating risks; and insights from specific case studies.