A handful of sewage hotspots damage coastal ecosystems
Environment Pollution Coastal ecosystems

A handful of sewage hotspots damage coastal ecosystems

Dr Shawna Foo
Dr Shawna Foo

In 10 seconds? Human wastewater is one of the biggest polluters of coastal ecosystems, with more than 80% of sewage released untreated into the environment. A new study pinpoints the just two dozen locations that play a role in the emergence of “dead zones” in the oceans.

What’s the problem? While it’s easy to flush and forget, untreated sewage is causing a multitude of problems. Sewage can increase the concentration of nitrogen in coastal waters, notably in coral reefs, alongside transporting a variety of pathogens, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals, which all negatively impact marine life. A new study shows that half the amount of global sewage pollution comes from just 25 locations. Among the biggest offenders the authors mention the Yangtze River in China, the Nile in Africa, the Mississippi in the US, the Paraná in Argentina, and the Danube in Europe.

Get unlimited access to our 3-min Digests and other premium features!

Choose your plan.

Sparrow Insiders

$0 (Limited Offer)
  • Receive our daily Digest in your inbox
  • Created & reviewed by real scientists
  • Preview 380+ Digests in our library
  • Upgrade for unlimited learning
  • Unsubscribe anytime
  • Subject to availability
Join our first 25k subscribers for free! Signup Progress Bar Subscribe now for free

Sparrow Unlimited

$19 / month
  • Talk with our scientists and ask them anything
  • Access 380+ summaries anywhere, anytime
  • Listen to our premium podcast
  • Weekly newsletter of the top 5 scientific findings
  • Daily updates with new content
  • Support independent science publishing
  • No advertisement
  • Cancel anytime
Learn more Subscribe now

Sparrow Unlimited

$99 / year
  • One easy payment - save 56%
  • Talk with our scientists and ask them anything
  • Access 380+ summaries anywhere, anytime
  • Listen to our premium podcast
  • Weekly newsletter of the top 5 scientific findings
  • Daily updates with new content
  • Support independent science publishing
  • No advertisement
  • Cancel anytime
Learn more Subscribe now