IWA Publishing

Transboundary Pollution

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

All pollutants can be transported through the aquatic environment and atmosphere, and many accumulate in downstream water bodies and their biota. The probability that pollution will cause transboundary impacts depends on the location of its source in relation to national boundaries, as well as the time it takes for a given pollutant to degrade. In general, microbial pollution is primarily a local problem, whereas suspended solids, hydrocarbons and nutrients pose a risk over larger spatial areas. The risk of transboundary impacts tends to be highest for persistent organic pollutants (POPs), particularly substances that readily migrate between water and air (such as DDT and mercury). Although other persistent pollutants, such as PCBs and heavy metals (e.g. cadmium), are less mobile, they also have transboundary aspects. As pollution transcends national boundaries, international cooperation is required to reduce human and environmental health risks. (GIWA 2006)

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