International Implications

Managing nonpoint source pollution is an international challenge. Like the United States, many developed countries initially directed resources toward controlling point source pollution. However, significant nonpoint source problems remain, especially resulting from an excess of nutrients and sediment in water bodies. The United Nations Environment Programme has identified increased nitrogen loadings, resulting mainly from agricultural runoff and wastewater, as one of the most serious water-quality issues affecting all countries. Sedimentation is a significant concern for other countries, frequently resulting from deforestation or clear cutting for fuelwood, or agricultural practices. One of the largest threats in developing countries relates to problems with sewage control, either through poor maintenance of sewage collection systems or a lack of it, leading to severe waterborne diseases.

The increasing world population promises even more challenges for managing nonpoint source pollution. Some international communities are embracing integrated solutions (like the watershed approach) to reduce it. Agenda 21 adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 is but one example. see also Agriculture; Cryp-tosporidiosis; Education; Hypoxia; Phosphates; Sedimentation; Water Pollution; Water Pollution: Freshwater; Water Treatment.

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