Clean and safe

As highlighted in the introduction, Scotland’s vision includes seas that are clean and safe. To assess the cleanliness of Scotland’s seas, a number of hazardous substances and biological effects have been investigated based on the monitoring undertaken for the OSPAR Coordinated Environment Monitoring Programme (CEMP), using internationally agreed thresholds. The concentration of nutrients, chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen have been compared against recognised values for eutrophication assessments. The distribution of sea-floor litter and microplastics in surface water are relatively new assessments, but support both the delivery of Scotland’s Marine Litter Strategy and international programmes. Underwater noise from shipping and maritime construction is another new field included in this assessment. Other aspects of the seas that need to be considered with respect to clean and safe include the assessment of bacteria concentrations in waters designated as suitable for bathing, for growing shellfish and the presence of algal toxins.

The Clean and safe assessment in Scotland’s Marine Atlas 2011 can be found on the Scottish Government web archive here.