The planets megacities (those with over 8 million inhabitants) are home to 16% of the entire world population. By 2020 that is expected to rise to 30%. Of the ten largest megacities in the world eight are located by the coast. Cities usually develop around areas of industry and ports are the life blood that feed many of these megacity industries. Unfortunately ports mean shipping lanes and oil pollution for the habitats around said ports. Ports also mean industry, and industrial waste is the major cause of marine pollution around megacities. The sheer size and massive populations involved in the megacities mean that they cannot intrinsically function without creating pollution.

A polluted Brazilian waterway. Photo courtesy of Topham, UNEP.


 With the rate of world population growth showing no signs of decelerating, more and more pressure shall be placed on our coastal waters by these megacities. Reductions of pollution at the source, in industry, are direly needed. As are increases in capabilities of cities to process their own waste.

Many industries rely on clean coastal water and the products that can be gleaned from clean water, fisheries being the major player. Collapse of these fisheries results in a loss of jobs, traditions, cultural ways, and an essential food source. The coasts feed the cities and realisation of this fact could have happened too late.

The five largest coastal cities in the world are described in sub topics to the left.

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