oursins - pollution ursins

Pollution and mutant sea urchins

A real investigation is taking place in the industrial port area of Fos-sur-mer. The FOS-SEA study, conducted by the Ecocitizens Institute for the knowledge of the pollution, analyses the impact of chlorine discharges on marine fauna and flora in the gulf of Fos : since the 1970s, the plants located in Fos-sur-Mer have been authorised to discharge 6 million m3 of chlorinated water into the sea !

These companies use seawater to cool or heat their facilities. They pump this water directly into the gulf. But in order to avoid the proliferation of mussels and other shellfish in the pipes, they chlorinate the water. Once used, this chlorinated water is discharged directly into the sea… Chlorine is then transformed by the contact with organic substances of the sea, and becomes a toxic chlorination by-product.

The impact of all this chemistry is felt particularly through sea urchins. The Ecocitizens Institute has discovered a significant mutation in sea urchins in contact with these pollutants. By comparing the genomes of Fos sea urchins and Embiez sea urchins, scientists noticed that Fos sea urchins are abnormally resistant to chlorination by-products, while Embiez sea urchins die at 90% in such an environment !

The FOS-SEA study is expected to last another year, carried out by the National Research Agency. It is hoped that it will provide a better understanding of the impact of pollution on sea life. And perhaps it will also allows us to take new measures to protect our Mediterranean Sea ?

sources : ledauphiné.com, maritima.medias, www.institut-ecocitoyen.fr, marsactu