by Martha Sadler

The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is falling prey to
noise pollution, according to the Conservation Working Group (CWG),
which monitors the wildlife park. In its comments to the
sanctuary’s advisory council, the CWG also urged the sanctuary to
beef up enforcement against air and water polluters, claiming the
$2.5 million enforcement budget is not equal to the task. Most of
the noise, chemicals, smog, and sewage comes from freighters along
the shipping lanes between the Channel Islands and the
mainland — traffic that increases tenfold about every 10 years,
according to the Environmental Defense Center’s Shiva Polefka, who
sits on the CWG.

Currently, there exist no regulations against noise pollution,
nor is there any easy antidote to the far-reaching underwater roar
of freighter engines. The CWG called for more research into its
impacts — which scientists suspect include the increasing numbers
of beached cetaceans — followed by research into ways to minimize
the noise. Additionally, the CWG recommended prohibiting the use of
motorized personal watercraft, low-flying aircraft, and vessels
larger than 150 tons within one nautical mile of the islands.


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