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Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume 164, 2021, 112085

Marine health of the Arabian Gulf: Drivers of pollution and assessment approaches focusing on desalination activities

Hoda Hosseinia, Imen Saadaouia, Navid Moheimanib, Mohammad Al Saidia, Fahad Al Jamalic, Hareb Al Jabria, Radhouane Ben Hamadouc

Algal Technologies Program, Centre for Sustainable Development, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, P.O. Box 2713, Doha, Qatar.


The Arabian Gulf is one of the most adversely affected marine environments worldwide, which results from combined pollution drivers including climate change, oil and gas activities, and coastal anthropogenic disturbances. Desalination activities are one of the major marine pollution drivers regionally and internationally. Arabian Gulf countries represent a hotspot of desalination activities as they are responsible for nearly 50% of the global desalination capacity. Building desalination plants, up-taking seawater, and discharging untreated brine back into the sea adversely affects the biodiversity of the marine ecosystems. The present review attempted to reveal the potential negative effects of desalination plants on the Gulf's marine environments. We emphasised different conventional and innovative assessment tools used to assess the health of marine environments and evaluate the damage exerted by desalination activity in the Gulf. Finally, we suggested effective management approaches to tackle the issue including the significance of national regulations and regional cooperation.

Keywords: Arabian Gulf, Assessment tools, Biodiversity, Desalination methods, Marine health.

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