Pollution of marine ecosystems from urban waste
As industrialization and urbanization continue to expand along the 700km of the Senegalese coastline, so does the production of disposable wastes. Nearly 80% of household and industrial wastes, generated by the 3 million people living in Dakar, are discharged directly into the Atlantic Ocean without prior treatment, destroying our marine resources.
Urban wastes are responsible for several types of pollution including:
Pollution by solid waste: The primary cause of marine pollution in the world leading to the eutrophication of marine environments (choking of the seabed due to the proliferation of plants), suffocation of living things found in these environments, and hindrance to the reproduction of species.
Chemical pollution: This type of pollution occurs when different types of toxic products are discharged into the ocean: heavy metals, pesticides, detergents, and even Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), chemicals able to last in the environment with many adverse effects on human health and wildlife.
Biological pollution: This type of pollution is caused by microorganisms (bacteria, algae, viruses etc.), found in waste waters, which proliferate and destroy the marine environment. For example, more than 55,000 m3 of faecal matter is discharged, each day, into the Bay de Hann, once one of the most beautiful beaches in West Africa!
Why marine ecosystems should be protected
For health reasons: The higher up we ‘eat’ in the food chain, the more concentrated toxic products we ingest into our bodies. Therefore, someone who eats mercury-contaminated fish will accumulate, in his body, twice or thrice the measure of mercury ingested, resulting in serious consequences to their health.
For economic and social reasons: Fishing and tourism are among the main sources of revenue for Senegal. Damage to or disappearance of marine biodiversity negatively impacts the economic activities reliant on this ecosystem, and decrease in the purchasing power of the people who earn their living from this ecosystem.