Land-Based Sources of Pollution

charles sheppard csheppard at
Sat Dec 21 10:57:25 EST 2002


As an avid reader of coral-list, I was interested in your email just now
on  'Pollution'. You say "For instance, sewage and/or industrial outfall
may have been permitted by law many years ago and to now call it
"pollution" immediately throws fuel on a fire of controversy."  I don't
think that matters at all. Times change.  What a village beside the
estuary could do last century may not have mattered at all, but that
village then grew into a city, and...

You go on to say "Our purpose should perhaps be to identify what the
anthropogenic factors are that influence reefs, then let the chips fall
where they may."  I completely agree.

I am editor of "Marine Pollution Bulletin".  Now, ages ago I tried to
get that title changed to reflect the evolution of the subject, to
something like 'Marine Environmental Science', or something less
old-fashioned sounding, though I never gave it too much thought!  Many
associate 'pollution' with being a 70s subject: lead in tissues, or E.
coli in water, so that global climate change etc etc doesn't really fit
it.  But the publishers wouldn't let me - 'Never change the title of a
successful journal as libraries will happily drop a journal to save
costs but wont necessarily buy a new one'!  What I mean is:  we
shouldn't get bogged down in these definitions.  I'll publish what is
interesting and important to marine habitats etc.  If over-fishing
somewhere is a problem to the marine environment, then that counts.  A
boring account of lead in an urchin's gonads is not likely to get in,
even if it fits older definitions of 'pollution' better.  Actually, MPB
publishes quite a lot of papers on corals/reef, and more on associated
tropical systems too.

You do an excellent job with coral-list.  I (amongst many) am very

Happy Christmas holidays

Charles Sheppard
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