Almost everyone in the Caribbean lives near the coast, a total of about 60 million people. This has had a highly negative impact on coastal and marine environments.
In Latin America, approximately one-fourth of the population lives near the coast.
About half of
the coastal areas in Latin America and the Caribbean are either under high or moderate levels of threat of degradation.
Threats to the coastal environments can be produced by a variety of human activities. Often, economic development for industries such as tourism can destroy local environments.
Industrial pollution into marine environments is another growing problem. In addition, sewage, sediments, waste, and contaminants are all dumped into marine areas by urban and
The growth of the transportation industry, and oil spills that might follow, are also a major cause of marine and coastal degradation. In the Caribbean, many beaches have become so covered in tar that they are unusable for tourism.
Often, discharge into major bodies of water comes from large urban areas that are the center of industrial or economic activity. Examples of such cities include Cartagena, Coatza Coalcos, Havana, and Kingston. In addition
to polluting the oceans and seas, this waste can destroy coral reefs and beaches.
Over half of the mangroves in the Caribbean have been damaged by pollution or other human activities. Mangroves are important marine environments because they are often home to a variety of different species and provide a unique habitat.