Our Filthy Seas: the Oceans Send Out an S.O.S.

Threatened by rising pollution, the oceans are sending out an SOS

Omar Torres / AFP / Getty

Water pumped into Lake Pontchartrain drains into the Gulf of Mexico

The very survival of the human species depends upon the maintenance of an ocean clean and alive, spreading all around the world. The ocean is our planet's life belt.

-- Marine Explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1980)

After sweltering through a succession of torrid, hazy and humid days, thousands of New Yorkers sought relief early last month by heading for the area's public beaches. What many found, to their horror and dismay, was an assault on the eyes, the nose and the stomach. From northern New Jersey to Long Island, incoming tides washed up a nauseating array of waste, including plastic tampon applicators...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!