10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World

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Who doesn’t love a nice, chill vacation by the seaside? The clean, blue water is so relaxing. But what if I told you that the “clean blue water” that you see isn’t the full picture? What if I told you that some of the world’s top tourist locations are actually the coasts of some of the dirtiest seas in the world? Here are the 10 dirtiest seas in the world!

Black Sea

I mean, it was called the “Black Sea” well before we started discovering how dirty it actually is, but the name fits. It’s far from a serious ecological catastrophe, but it’s close! The sea receives a lot of water from various rivers, and each “source” of new water brings with it pollutants, plastics, and toxic waste from all the cities that the rivers travel near. The coasts of Crimea and Turkey might be prime tourist locations, but the sea itself, on the whole, is extremely dirty.

Black Sea | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries

Red Sea

The Red Sea is one of the warmest seas in the world. That’s great for tourists who love to swim in the sea, but it’s also the cause of tremendous amounts of water evaporation. So, with so much water being regularly evaporated from the sea, the concentrations of toxins and pollutants in the water keeps on growing. The amount of edible fish in the sea has dropped 70%, but it seems like all the fish are being replaced by tourists who are attracted to the comfortably warm waters.

Red Sea | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries

Sea of Japan (East Sea)

The East Sea is victim to the insane amounts of trading ships that travel across it. Because of all the gasoline used (and expelled) by these ships, the level of exhaust pollution in the Sea of Japan is 10 times more than the accepted norm.

Sea of Japan (East Sea) | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries

Baltic Sea

Here’s the thing – over 500 tonnes of chemical, nuclear, and other kinds of bombs are lost in the depths of the Baltic Sea. As time goes on, the shells of these weapons tend to erode and rust, and this results in the leaks of many toxic chemicals. That’s why the Baltic Sea is one of the dirtiest seas in the world.

Baltic Sea | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries

Sea of Azov

The Sea of Azov is very shallow, which is terrible for the wildlife that lives closer to the coasts. The shallow water heats up to an extent where water-dwelling creatures simply don’t have enough oxygen to survive. And if that wasn’t enough to make the sea a very hostile environment for fish — over 0.05% of the sea’s surface is covered with oil pollution.

Sea of Azov | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries

South China Sea

The South China Sea is the dirtiest sea in the Southern Hemisphere and is the 5th dirtiest sea in the world. At this point, this sea is so dirty that humankind’s ability to “restore” it and save it have all but gone. This is, of course, the result of oil leaks and the many, many ships that traverse the waters of the South China Sea.

South China Sea | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries

Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea is being suffocated by the oil production companies that drill and extract oil from the depths of the sea floor. The amount of carbon in the waters of the Caspian Sea has long been well above the globally accepted norms, and yet it seems like the oil production isn’t stopping any time soon.

Caspian Sea | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries

Laccadive Sea

The sea located on India’s western coast suffers from all the pollution caused by the nearby mega-cities. There are many ports located on the coast, and because of this, the amount of carbon, oil, and metal pollution in the waters of the Laccadive Sea is absolutely insane.

Laccadive Sea | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries

Mediterranean Sea

You honestly wouldn’t suspect that the Mediterranean Sea is so dirty looking at all the pictures from the coastal resorts in Italy, Croatia, and Turkey. And yet, it definitely belongs on this list of top 10 dirtiest seas in the world. According to the latest report from the EU, the Mediterranean Sea is polluted by 650 tonnes of solid waste every year, and an additional 230 tonnes of liquid waste. This amount of waste being disposed into the sea is unsustainable, and each year the problem with the sea’s pollution is likely only going to get worse.

Mediterranean Sea | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries

Gulf of Mexico

Although I’ve been listing the seas in no particular order, the Gulf of Mexico is by far the dirtiest in the world. Most of the pollution in the sea is chemical. All the rivers of Cuba, Mexico, and (most importantly) the United States bring in their water into the Gulf of Mexico. And all of the pollution that’s in those rivers makes it into the sea as well. And then, as if all of this wasn’t enough, no sea in the world suffers from oil spills as much as the Gulf of Mexico does. And so — the Gulf of Mexico is the dirtiest sea in the world.

Gulf of Mexico | 10 of the Dirtiest Seas in the World | Brain Berries


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