Record Details

Alava, Juan José;Palomera, Carlos;Bendell, Leah;Ross, Peter S
Pollution as an emerging threat for the conservation of the Galapagos Marine Reserve: environmental impacts and management perspectives
The Galapagos Marine Reserve. Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands
Book Section
J Denkinger and L Vinueza
Chapter 12
Springer International Publishing
New York
Amblyrhynchus cristatus;Conolophus subcristatus
The Galapagos Marine Reserve(GMR) is one of the most fragile marine ecoregions to be preserved to benefit global biodiversity. Ongoing continentalization and increasing human population diminish the degree of isolation of the Galapagos, jeopardizing its socio-ecological system. While tourism and fisheries activities stand by the islands' economy, several anthropogenic stressors threaten the marine ecosystem. An environmental assessment and literature survey were conducted to characterize the coastal marine pollution impacts caused by human-made activities. The assessment revealed that municipal waste incineration of organic waste and plastics in open dump areas is a potential source of unintentionally produced persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins and furans. Plastic is one of the most abundant solid wastes at sea and shorelines, representing 25% of the total marine debris. More than 50% of current-use pesticides applied in the agriculture zone of the inhabited islands were identified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals, underlying potential health effects in the endemic fauna. Oil spills and traces of hydrocarbons threaten the long-term survival of marine species due to the current reliance on fuel transported from Ecuador's mainland coast. Concerted local and global management strategies are strongly needed into the decision-making processes to protect the GMR from chemical and biological assaults.