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Environmental risks in the deep sea

A report on a study on the environmental risks from large-scale ecological research in the deep sea (RISKER) has recently been published by the European Commission, DG XII. The study, conducted within the framework of the EU's Environment and Climate research programme, addres...
A report on a study on the environmental risks from large-scale ecological research in the deep sea (RISKER) has recently been published by the European Commission, DG XII. The study, conducted within the framework of the EU's Environment and Climate research programme, addresses the key question of whether marine ecological research could be in itself unacceptable from an environmental standpoint.

The international study group gathered together to conduct the study aimed to assess:

- The impact of past uses of the deep ocean for various types of waste disposal;
- The sustainability of ocean resources with regard to any future exploitation of sea-bed minerals;
- The environmental acceptability of any disposal of waste into the deep ocean.

The key discussions of the study are contained in the following chapters:

- Chapter 2 on the extraction of deep sea minerals examining each of the major potential mineral ores which may be mined in the future, such as manganese nodules and crusts;
- Chapter 3 addresses the past and potential use of the deep ocean for waste disposal, such as munitions and radioactive waste;
- Chapter 4 discusses the acceptability of conducting large scale ecological research and experiments in the deep sea.

A final chapter is devoted to a bibliography of related reading on the topic.

Source: European Commission, DG XII

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