Estuaries as repositories of historical contamination and their impact on shelf seas

J Ridgeway, Graham B Shimmield

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199 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Estuaries are sites of port, industrial, urban and recreational development and also important to many forms of animal life. They often form sinks for sediment and thus for contaminants associated with the sediment which arise from anthropogenic activities in their hinterland and along their shores. These contaminants can adversely affect estuarine ecosystems and are the subject of international agreements on environmental protection. For both of these reasons, it is important to increase our knowledge of the distribution, concentration, controlling influences on, and impacts of, estuarine contamination. Evidence from around the world shows that although estuaries are sinks for contaminants from the terrestrial environment, there is significant transport of marine material up-estuary as bed load sediment whilst fine-grained terrestrial material may be transported seawards in suspension. Major movement of contaminants from estuaries onto the continental shelf probably occurs only during floods and storms and, in general, the impact on shelf seas is relatively minor and confined to the coastal zone. The chief exception to this rule is in the Far East where sediment from major Chinese rivers may be dispersed up to 300 kin across the shelf. (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-928
Number of pages26
JournalESTUAR COAST SHELF S
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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Keywords

  • SURFACE SEDIMENTS
  • HUMBER ESTUARY
  • INNER BRISTOL CHANNEL
  • CLAY-MINERALS
  • LIVERPOOL BAY SEDIMENTS
  • TRACE-METALS
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology
  • ORGANIC-MATTER
  • HEAVY-METALS
  • Oceanography
  • MARINE-SEDIMENTS
  • RIVER MERSEY ESTUARY

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