The 5 Most Polluted Seas in the World

The 5 Most Polluted Seas in the World

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: This article wasn’t written by me. GD Environmental is a specialist waste collection and disposal company based in South Wales. Its aim is to improve local waste management by recycling more than 96% of all waste it collects, so if you’d like to see how many of your items are recycled, pay one of its centers a visit and see the magic at work! Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.


We all know that recycling is important and as safe waste management processes have grown in use over the past few years, many of our streets and much of our countryside now look cleaner than ever. But what about the areas of the world we don’t see on a regular basis, like underground at landfill sites or far out to sea?

Here we take a look at 5 of the most polluted seas in the world, what’s causing the rubbish pile up and what is being done to tackle this issue head on:

The 5 Most Polluted Seas in the World 2
  1. The Atlantic Ocean (Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic)
    As the second largest expanse of water (after the Pacific Ocean) it is unsurprising that the Atlantic Ocean is home to some of the world’s worst pockets of pollution. One of which is centered on the basin in the Gulf of Mexico.This enclosed section, surrounded by the USA, Mexico and Cuba, is known as one of the largest dead zones in the world. The water in the Gulf is highly polluted with nitrogen and phosphorous which has come from American agricultural practices. This means the water is hypoxic (low in oxygen) and fish cannot survive here.The North Atlantic is also highly polluted. The North Atlantic Garbage Patch is essentially a gigantic rubbish island which floats around in the North Atlantic Gyre. First discovered in 1972, the Patch has continued to grow and scientists now believe it is hundreds of miles wide with more than 200,000 pieces of waste per square mile.
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  1. Indian Ocean
    According to the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX), the Indian Ocean is extremely polluted, with nearly 4 million square miles of coverage. Scientists also claim that tropical cyclones are increasingly common in the Arabian Sea (part of the Indian Ocean) as a result of this pollution.In 2010, a monstrous plastic and chemical sludge patch was found floating in the Indian Ocean and is now categorized as the third largest of its kind in the world.
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  1. Mediterranean Sea
    Many of us may be found sunbathing on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea during the summer months, but did you know the Mediterranean is one of the most polluted oceans in the world?According to The United Nations Environment Program, there is 650 million tons of sewage and a combined 230,000 tons of mineral oil, mercury, lead and phosphates dumped into the Mediterranean Sea each year.
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  1. Baltic Sea
    Overfishing and pollution mean species living in the Baltic Sea are at extreme risk. Along with oil spills, these threats have resulted in more than half of all fish species here being categorized as at a critical level. As a result the Finish government has rationed some types to avoid extinction.
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  1. Caribbean Sea
    Another part of the world known for its beautiful sandy beaches, the Caribbean in the north of the Atlantic Ocean is recognized as one of the world’s worst affected areas by human activity. Waste and chemical pollution, oil spills, over-fishing and climate change all mean that marine life here is slowly dying off.

Cleaning the Seas One Bottle at a Time

From floating plastic bottle islands to chemical-induced hypoxic waters, all of this damage is man-made. So, it is our responsibility to rectify it and put things back the way they were.

One simple way you can help save our seas is to recycle more, because the less waste there is, the less likely it is to be dumped. That’s why using different types of reusable bags is a simple-yet-effective way of protecting the oceans as it means fewer plastics ending up in the seas. And if you will be using chemicals on your garden or agricultural land, make sure to use non-toxic alternatives. If you’d like to be even more hands on and you’re unhappy with the state of your local beach, why not sign up to become a litter picker along the shoreline this summer?

If everyone made a small effort today, the cleanliness of our seas could benefit hugely.

(Information taken from IBTimes UK report here.)

5 Responses to The 5 Most Polluted Seas in the World

  1. lori kappelmann August 10, 2016 at 11:08 pm #

    Jenny, I am so happy that u r giving us knowledge about this hurendous problem. Recycling should be mandentory evrywhere. This earth and seas were given to us by God almighty. Evryone needs to be green!!!!

    • Jennie August 11, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

      Hi Lori, You bet! It is so important and I want everyone to recycle!

  2. Christopher mercurio February 10, 2018 at 5:16 pm #

    I’m 44 years old I live in Long Beach New York on Long Island and I’m overwhelmed at how we have created the mess we are in today with the worlds beautiful oceans and waterways. I was ignorant to everything until the last few years and I really want to do more and I really wish everybody else would do more. Recycling I feel is the most important thing and it should be mandatory everywhere in the world. I can’t imagine how anybody would think otherwise it’s mind-boggling. As I read through your ad which gives a lot of information on the current state of the world’s oceans and how polluted they are I am going to absolutely join and help clean up my Beaches. To mate that is thankfully one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to and I’m lucky enough to live in a Beach Community. Please send me any other information you may have as I do like to keep up and try to pass along the information to as many people as I can. Thank you very much

  3. Rita July 11, 2018 at 1:02 am #

    I am giving up eating anything and everything that comes from the oceans, rivers, lakes, streams etc.

    Really sad what has happened to our waters.

    • Charlie November 28, 2019 at 8:36 pm #

      Hi from the Baltic ocean! By far our worst plastic polutant in the sea are the filters from cigarettes. Smokers, please dispose of them responsibly, don’t just throw them on the ground because they’re light, they float and they are found both along beaches a plenty and in the bellies of seals and carnivorous birds and fish like pikes, gulls and eagles.

      The other, and much trickier problem is the appropriate dosing of fertilizer on the fields. Settling for less than maximum sized yields, and fertilizing less but more often, making sure that the nutrients are fully absorbed instead of being washed out to sea and causing eutrophication is so much more work and less cost efficient that despite government support, the farming industry has been very modest in their reforms so far.

      Great improvement has happened in waste water treatment in all countries surrounding the Baltic sea but we still have a long way to go.

      Recycling is less important than consuming responsibly and if possible less in the first place and not getting sloppy and trowing trash by the wayside but making sure it ends up in a proper trash can. This even when you’re drunk on a saturday night.

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