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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Marine pollution effects of pulp and paper industry wastes

  • T. H. Pearson1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen33:BF02414760


The scale of waste discharges to the marine environment from the pulp and paper industry in various parts of the world is outlined and a brief description of the major characteristics of such wastes is given. The information available on the direct toxicity of these wastes to marine fauna and flora is assessed including both lethal and sublethal effects. The environmental impact of waste discharge and subsequent ecosystem modifications are considered in detail; the complex adjustments to the nutrient and carbon budgets of the water column and sediment involved in direct alterations to their oxygen balance and other indirect eutrophication effects are described. It is concluded that whereas the direct toxicity of these wastes has minimal effect in the marine environment the complex problems created by increasing the oxygen demand of the receiving waters can have considerable impact in inshore areas. Methods of minimising the effect of such impacts and of forecasting their extent are outlined.

“He saw its excreta poisoning the seas. He became watchful” (Hughes, 1970).