Water Pollution in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea
Types of Pollutants in the Persian Gulf
The marine environment in this area has been exposed to various destructive contaminants in recent years. The extraction of oil from coastal areas and the continental shelf of the Persian Gulf, coupled with its export and the passage of oil tankers along the waterway, have had an increasingly destructive impact on marine ecosystems. At present, an estimated 100 ships enter and leave the Persian Gulf every day. This indicates that 40 percent of the world's total oil transportation passes through the region.
Therefore, it is only natural that such an extensive transit volume will have negative repercussions on the marine environment. The oil sludge, released by the aggregate of tankers traversing the Persian Gulf, is estimated to be around 8 million metric tons per year. This kind of pollution represents some 60 percent of the pollution plaguing the Persian Gulf. Studies conducted in recent years have shown that the major part of the pollution is caused by ships sailing from the Strait of Hormuz to oil terminals in regional countries.
The sea bed along this route is often covered with oil sludge, which brings with it a particularly foul environment. The contaminants are discharged from the oil tankers when they release ballasts, since most are not equipped with oil and water tank separators, referred to as segregated ballast tanks (SBT). For as long as there are no regulations enacted to limit the passage of these ill-equipped vessels through the waters of the Persian Gulf, this problem will continue to the detriment of the region.
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