Puerto Rico Bay Highly Contaminated: Findings

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The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found very high levels of pollutants in southeast Puerto Rico’s Guanica Bay and warns it may pose a serious threat to the marine life there.

Researchers say the area has high levels of chlordane and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Both are banned substances. Apart from these two, the bay is also equipped with high levels of nickel and chromium metals.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists, the pollutants in the sediment of the bay are affecting ecosystems of the area.

Since 1986 the NOAA had conducted a nationwide contaminant monitoring program. David Whitall, lead investigator and ecologist at NOAA, said the sediment concentrations takes very long time to change and it is surprising that PCBs are at very high levels in the bay.

Scientists at the NOAA says the contaminants in the bay are a serious toxic threat to the fish, coral and other organisms, which could lead to human risk too if the fish caught in the area is eaten.

As of now the scientists are not very sure how the bay has been contaminated to such high levels. However, the area is an industrial zone and it is also a popular tourists spot.

The contamination information has been shared with the Puerto Rico government by NOAA officials, but it is not known whether the cleaning up of the area has been planned. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also been kept in the information loop.