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Overview on Land-Based Sources and Activities Affecting the Marine Environment in the ROPME Sea Area

31 Dec 1999

The ROPME sea area includes the coastal and marine waters of the eight countries (Bahrain, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) that make up ROPME. This region is arid, with large seasonal fluctuations of air and water temperatures and thus the greatest extremes among tropical marine climates. While its natural resources have supported the coastal populations for thousands of years, the marine environment has recently been degraded as a result of a wide range of land-based sources and activities.

Available information on land-based sources and activities affecting the marine environment of each member State is presented, and the main pollution sources identified and assessed. These include power and desalination plants, sewage treatment facilities, industrial facilities, solid waste, recreation and tourism facilities, oil refineries, agricultural activities, coastal construction, mining and quarrying activities, port facilities, and others. Priorities were established and it was found that action priorities differed among States because of their socio-economic and physiographic differences. Management objectives for priority problems, available, based on current legislation and regulations, as well as development plans are presented. Strategies and measures were evaluated and selected on the basis of a comparison between current activities and existing environmental conservation efforts. Criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of strategies and programmes were formulated where possible. Programme support elements are presented for each member State and the ROPME region.

Recent development activities in the ROPME region have heavily concentrated on fragile terrestrial and marine resources. Coastal habitats are being converted to urban and industrial development. The coastal zone is fast becoming the repository for liquid and solid wastes. Major ecological problems have arisen from the loss and degradation of coastal habitats, caused by landfill, dredging and sedimentation. Furthermore, the region is subjected to frequent oil spillages.

All ROPME member States have their own national policies and legislation which deal with many aspects of land-based sources and activities affecting the marine environment. They are also parties to many regional and international conventions under which they are committed to protecting their marine environment from landbased sources. In addition, some member States have their own monitoring programmes dealing with air and marine pollution. Furthermore, some member States have taken action to reduce marine pollution from landbased sources, and have involved the private sector in their development planning.

The available data, however, are inconsistent and must be verified and updated. While very important information is available from government institutions it is in the form of raw data or is formatted in a way that makes it difficult to detect pollution trends. In addition, coordination between government and research institutions is lacking in many cases.

Current programmes on land-based sources and activities affecting the marine environment of the ROPME region varies greatly from one country to another. In some countries, most actions and measures recommended under the Global Programme of Action have been implemented with varying degrees of success, while in other countries, very little has been done to protect the marine environment from land-based activities.

Status: Completed

Type: Staff Publications

Author: UNEP/GRID-Arendal

Year of publication: 1999

Publisher: UNEP/GRID-Arendal

Tags: marine environment

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