Impact Of Port Development On Marine Environment: A Review

Impact of Port Development on Aquatic Fauna and Flora

Ports are considered as maritime commercial facilities which consist of one or more wharves where ships can dock. Port development is important as it supports the economic operations. The activities which are operated are beneficial for the economy and country. Also, there are numerous benefits related to port development like job creation, economic growth and infrastructural development. In the recent scenario, port development gives impact on the marine environment. It is important to maintain the marine environment so that it can be simple for the aquatic animals and plants to survive for long time. If proper focus is given on maintaining the marine life then positive impact can be given on the society as well. Marine environment in context to port development can be affected by various factors.  In this paper, the discussion will be made on the marine environment.

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Fauna and Flora

It has been examined that port gives impact on the aquatic fauna and flora. Fauna and Flora are important to be preserved so that ecosystem can be maintained. But there are various types of chemicals which are discharged and it negatively impact on aquatic fauna and flora.  It has been stated by the researchers that due to chemicals the water quality is affected in context to coastal hydrology and also bottom contamination. Land reclamation from the sea impact on the bottom habitat and also displaces the overall resources related to fishery. The impact is seen on the Terrestrial fauna and flora. But it should be reduced so that the life of the fauna and flora can be enhanced (Ng,Yang, Cahoon & Lee, 2016).

Fishery resources

The fishery resources are reduced because it has a link with diminution of bottom biota and also enhances the undesirable species. The deterioration also impact on reducing the all kinds of aquatic biota.  It has been investigated that development of ports should be there by considering proper regulations as it reduces negative impact on the fishery resources. There are many fishes which are impacted by the development of the ports. The impact on the fishes is due to food which intake by them gets spoiled. It is just because of the chemicals and harmful substance which is released. Also, this reduces the life of marine animals and also enhances water pollution (Bennett, 2016).

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Quality of water get affected

Port development can affect the overall quality of water.  Various researchers said that breakwaters and landfills can affect the recent structure and can also lead to stagnation of water. If the effluent related to industries flows into a port, then there can be increase in the phytoplankton which can negatively impact the overall quality of water. If Quality of water it not proper then it can be difficult for the water species to sustain for long time. So, at the time of port development it has been seen that impact is on the water quality. So, it is important to maintain quality so that it can be simple to for the water species to survive in the water. Also, anaerobic water can lead to generation of hydrogen sulphide and can generate odour.   The serious impact can be seen on the organisms.

Impact of Port Development on Water Quality

It has also been analyzed that ships release sewage and water waste that is related with the contamination of oil. The discharge from the ships enhances the water pollution. Also, leaching of toxic paint additives related with the ships can affect the health of the marine life. At the time of port development it has been investigated that paints are used which are then mix with the water and give adverse effect on the marine life. The paint which is use consists of dangerous chemicals which can enhance the difficulty for the marine animals to survive for long time. At the time of developing ports it has been seen that many chemicals are used which are also necessary for the ships. So, it directly impacts the living species of the water. This is important to minimize this impact so that aquatic living can survive for long time in water. Dredging is only the source from which the waste can be generated at the time of focusing on the construction activities. If dredging material is disposed then it can affect the marine animals and plants (Xie, Lv, Liu, Mao & Liu, 2015).

Oil spills

Also, it has been seen that where port development takes place, oil is one of the component which is used. So, oil contamination also consists of chronic pollution at the time of loading and unloading the oil tanks. Also, due to oil spill in the water, the water is not reused for the people. The water gets pollutants which takes time to reuse (Welford, 2016). 


It is taken into consideration to remove sediment to deepen the channels of ships. It increases the cloudiness of water and disturbs contaminated bottom sediment. The affect is also seen on the wildlife habitats and it also threatens them. It is like a threatening to the wildlife animals and due to this their life is in the risk. The risk should be reduced by focusing on proper strategies as it will help to maintain the species in context to aquatic life (Manap & Voulvoulis, 2015).

It has been seen that marine animals can take taken into ships to maintain the balance of the ships and then they are taken into the new habitats where they are known as invasive species and it threaten the natural ecosystems. Due to port development, negative impact can also been seen on the natural ecosystems which is negative for the society also. People also get affected with this so it is important to focus on maintaining the ecosystem. If ecosystem is maintained then positive impact can be seen on the entire living life of the living organisms (Hollen, Van Den Bosch & Volberda, 2015).

Impact of Port Development on Water Pollution

Pressure due to cargo ships

Through ports there are many cargo ships that are used. But it has been seen that it is heavy in nature which negatively impact the marine animals.  The depth of these ships is more which affect the living animals and also create issue to survive for long Time. Due to pressure the animals are not able to survive and they are killed. This has impacted the overall process of marine environment. It is important to reduce this issue so that living organisms can live easily. Ports developed around the marine areas also affect the flow of water. Due to that water flow is affected which gives impact on the marine animals and plants (Jadhav,  Anderson, Dyer & Sutton,  2017).

It has been seen that due to port development, the ratio of waste enhances. When ports are developed, people start visiting it and it enhances the water pollution. People throw garbage in the water which enhances the pollution. It has been investigated that there are many aquatic animals that are died because of the plastics bags digested by them. The water which gets polluted takes more time to be consumed by the people.

Coastal hydrogen

Port development also impacts the coastal hydrogen. Dredging can impact on the changes in the recent scenario in relation to the flow of water.  Also the changes in context to littoral drifts can lead to beach erosion. It has been investigated that dredged material when disposed can also causes leakage of the harmful substance into the overall ground water. At the time of port development there are many equipment’s which are used. It can also generate dust and cause air pollution. Dust which accumulates from the construction activities can also be a cause of water pollution. On the construction sites it is important to maintain the dust emission so that water pollution can be controlled.  It is necessary to focus on minimizing the pollutant which is generated because of the construction so that aquatic life can be maintained. If pollutant is not under control then survival in the water for long can be affected of aquatic plants and animals. When ports are built or developed it has been seen that there are various components which are used and the remaining components are thrown in the garbage. Therefore, it is important to collect the waste and dispose it in a proper manner so that aquatic living cannot be affected (Puig, Wooldridge & Darbra, 2014).


Therefore, by analyzing the paper it has been concluded that port development gives impact on the marine environment. The direct impact is seen on the aquatic life.  When ports are developed it has been seen that aquatic plants and animals are affected. The life span is reduced because of the chemicals and dangerous components discharge from ships. It is important to reduce these effects so that it the life of the aquatic living can be maintained. When ports are developed the negative impact can be analyzed so it should be minimized so that it can be easy to maintain the water quality. So, it can be stated that port development gives negative impact on the marine environment.


Bennett, N. J. (2016). Using perceptions as evidence to improve conservation and environmental management. Conservation Biology, 30(3), 582-592.

Hollen, R. M., Van Den Bosch, F. A., & Volberda, H. W. (2015). Strategic levers of port authorities for industrial ecosystem development. Maritime Economics & Logistics, 17(1), 79-96.

Jadhav, A., Anderson, S., Dyer, M. J., & Sutton, P. C. (2017). Revisiting ecosystem services: Assessment and valuation as starting points for environmental politics. Sustainability, 9(10), 1755.

Manap, N., & Voulvoulis, N. (2015). Environmental management for dredging sediments–The requirement of developing nations. Journal of environmental management, 147, 338-348.

Ng, A. K., Yang, Z., Cahoon, S., & Lee, P. T. W. (2016). Introduction: Port, maritime logistics, and regional development. Growth and Change, 47(3), 346-348.

Puig, M., Wooldridge, C., & Darbra, R. M. (2014). Identification and selection of environmental performance indicators for sustainable port development. Marine pollution bulletin, 81(1), 124-130.

Welford, R. (2016). Corporate environmental management 1: systems and strategies. Routledge.

Xie, Y., Lv, X., Liu, R., Mao, L., & Liu, X. (2015). Research on port ecological suitability evaluation index system and evaluation model. Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 9(1), 65-70.