Dinoflagellate hunter a single celled

Protoperidinium spp, from Plankton Chronicles








Our Toxic Wave

life on Earth is about to change

75% of our oxygen comes from the Oceans, and it's dropping at a rate of 1% per year.

We have lost 80% of flying insects over the last 30 years, mainly because of agricultural pesticides. In another 20 years there may be only be a few percentages remaining and agriculture will likely fail. We will also loose many of our flowers, trees and terrestrial ecology due to a lack of pollination. 

All pollution from land ends up in the oceans. Persistent organic pollutants such as PBDE, textile fire retardants, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics such as oxybenzone and other chemicals end up in the oceans. The chemicals are absorbed by microscopic marine plants and animals called the Plankton.  The chemicals are also concentrated thousands of times on microplastics, and small marine animals called copepods eat the microplastics.
Plankton produces more than 75% of our oxygen and remove 30% of all carbon dioxide. They are the base of the marine food chain upon which all fish, whales, seals, birds and food supply for 2 billion people depend. Plankton levels have dropped 50% in the last 60 years. Marine productivity continues to drop by 1% per year.  This situation is not sustainable. If we lose the oceans we also lose the terrestrial ecosystem. All life on earth is going to change. 


 1000 tonnes of TBT would kill all life in the Oceans, yet we make more than 30,000 tonnes a year and it cant be recycled

A Toxic Wave


The world manufactures 30,000 tonnes a year of organic tin as a plasticiser used in PVC,  as a biocide in cooling towers, as a catalyst in organic chemistry, it is still even used as antifouling paint on the hull of container ships. If 1000 tonnes were to dissolve into the oceans all at the one time, it will kill all marine life...everywhere. Plastic is building up in ocean sediment, micro-plastics and nanoplastics are adsorbed by marine life, it all ends up back in the food chain and in people.  What Goes Around Comes Around, all marine life and people, now contain nano plastic and priority chemicals including organic tin. We have basically destroyed our envirtonment, the chemical bomb has exploded, but nobody is paying attetion, the focus has been on CO2 emmissions.

Toxic priority chemicals adsorbed onto hydrophobic nano particles such as plastic, from washing your fleece and zeolites used in washing up detergents, concentrate the priority chemicals and inject them into bacteria, algae and plankton.  We depend upon the oceanic food chain for our very survival, it is being destroyed and few people actually know it is happening.  We have around 25 years before a cascade failure, and if we lose the marine ecosystem, the terrestrial system will follow.

The fate of the Oceans

  • The concentration of priority chemicals such as PCBs and PBDE from fire retardants in carpets, cloths and foam products are now off-the-scale in most marine mammals.
  • 90% of all cancers suffered by people are known to be of environmental origin, caused by priority chemicals
  • Life expectancy is now dropping, people are starting to die younger, not live longer and again this is due to pollution in water, air & food
  • Male fertility has dropped by 50% in Europe due to hormones and endocrine disrupters.
  • Marine mammals as well as humans as a biological defence mechanism, dump toxins into the foetus and in milk. The toxins / priority chemicals are then implicated in causing neurological disorders and are cancer precursors
  • We are not only destroying the ecosystem; we are killing ourselves
  • All life on Earth depends upon the Oceans, is it too late to fix ?

    80% of the worlds oxygen is produced in the oceans by microscopic plants, and 30% of the carbon dioxide is fixed by organisms smaller than 1mm.  We know that atmospheric oxygen levels are dropping and carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing.

    Most life on earth lives in the oceans, and is too small to seen by eye, according to NASA, the microscopic life forms are dying off at a rate of 1% every year.  This means that 0.8% off all life on the planet is dying every year. Research from Universities such as Dalhousie in Nova Scotia, published in Nature, report that more than 40% of all microscopic life has died since the 1950s, the start of the chemical revolution as opposed to the industrial revolution.  As a consequence, the oceans are losing their ability to sequester carbon dioxide which means that carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing, making the oceans more acidic.  

    The pH (acidity) has dropped from 8.26 to 8.06 over the last 50 years. Over the next 25 to 40 years it will drop to pH7.9, at which point there will be a cascade failure of the marine ecosystem, and we lose all the teleost fish, whales, seals, birds and food supply for 2 billion people.

    Increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide, as well as all the nutrients from pollution should increase primary productivity, yet we are see a drop of 1% every year.  This situation is not sustainable, but why is it happening?  we know that it is certainly not climate change. 

    Priority chemical pollution in combination with hydrophobic micro and nano particles is the explanation. Reducing CO2 emissions is not going to have any impact, we need to also reduce and eliminate priority chemicals such as PCBs, PBDE, mercury and organic tins.

    GOES Global Oceanic Environmental Survey

    PROJECT BRIEF: The question ?

    Is aquatic environmental pollution from priority substances impacting on marine species diversity and primary productivity and is it implicated in ocean acidification and climate change.

    The GOES Project aims to bring about change;

    1. The elimiantion of priority substances in domestic / consumer products

    2. The promotion of technologis to recycle, recover, reuse and remanufacture as part of the circular economy

    3. If we can not prevent the manufacture or reuse of priority substances then we must remove the substances from drinking water, waste water and the environment.

    The GOES Project, with an international technical team overseeing and directing, will:

    The Problem:

    Many indicators tell us our oceans are changing for the worse. Some of these changes are visible and are getting our attention – over fishing, marine litter, and reduction/loss of of marine biodiversity. We have already lost over 90% of all large fish, tuna and sharks as well as coral reefs around th world. However, it is the presence and impact of pollution from Priority Substances (those chemicals most toxic to humans, aquatic life and other organisms) on which we have little or no data because it’s been too difficult to collect the data, but they may very well have a more negative impact than we realize. We know that the oceans are changing fast and the use of toxic chemicals in our homes, businesses and industry, along with our use of fossil fuels, have been highlighted as possible reasons for this change in biodiversity. We also know that if we lose the marine ecosystem, the loss of the terrestrial system will follow. Data from academic institutions and the aquaria industry from across the globe, when pieced together, form a very worrying picture:

    • The burning of fossil fuels only accounts for only 3% of the CO2 entering the atmosphere (IPCC 2013 26)
    • 50% to 80% of atmospheric CO2 is adsorbed by the oceans
    • Since 1950, the oceanic productivity (plankton/marine algae and bacteria) may have reduced by up to 40% (Boyce et al., 2010 3). This means CO2 adsorption by the oceans has also dropped by up to 40%,(hugely significant even at 5%)
    • The reduction in productivity may be due to priority chemicals as opposed to an increase in temperature, PCB concentrations in Antarctica are over 1 ng/l (Joiris, C.R et al 11). However even if they were below detection level, the chemicals will be selectively absorbed by microbes and marine plastics to toxic levels. There is no safe concentration of a prtiority substance.
    • It follows that this reduction in productivity will result in higher concentration of CO2 because it is not being fixed, and in turn, ocean acidification will then accelerate.
    • Aquaria are mini oceanic ecosystems and they fail due to pH decline –this maps across to the IPCC extrapolation as follows: Oceanic pH decline, will reach pH7.95 in just 25 years, at which point there may be a cascade destabilization of the ecosystem. (IPCC 2013 26)
    • 90% of large fish have already been lost through over fishing, the reminder may not survive acidification.
    • Silica structured diatoms will take over from carbonate based algae e.g coccolithophores, ( BIOS) which are currently responsible for 25% of all CO2 fixation. Once this process initiates it cannot be reversed. However we still have a few years to reverse the trend, but we need start now.

    The above bullet points are a few pieces of the jigsaw that, when brought together, highlight why we need to be doing more to measure priority substances. We just do not have enough data on their impact on the marine ecosystem to convince the world’s governments, industry and society to make the necessary urgent change.

    We do not currently know the full impact priority chemicals have on the marine environment. In addition, there are data that makes us ask the questions about the possible strong link between marine biodiversity and climate change – with more evidence, this may be a mechanism of climate change about which we can also take corrective action.

    The burning of fossil fuels will continue to rise, and the impact on climate change is inevitable, however the oceans are our buffer and ally. If we reduce or prevent priority chemical pollution there may be scope for the oceans to recover, for primary productivity to increase to a point where it could safely absorb more carbon dioxide again and make a significant contribution to our mitigation efforts to combat climate change.

    The Vision

    We do know that we can’t control what we don’t measure. GOES aims to address the lack of data and help get a handle on this issue.

    GOES is also win-win project… We get data to inform AND we work to stop priority chemicals getting in to our oceans and into our food chain. By demonstrating the level of priority chemicals in the ocean, this helps to signpost to freshwater aquatic environmental pollution, drinking water as well as food security.

    There is no excuse for non action….. getting those priority chemicals out of the ecosystem might just lift the ‘foot off the brake’ on primary productivity and give the marine ecosystem a chance to recover and, we may even find this will help reverse some of the effects of climate change. No matter what, if the GOES Project can reduce toxicity and increase the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2 –it can only be good.

    The GOES objectives are:


    Priority substances are a concern for the environment nationally and internationally with over 100 or so listed in Annex X of the European Union’s Water Framework Directive. It is expected that this list will grow to close to 500 by 2020. There is a pressing need to identify new treatments that will remove priority substances economically and preferably with low energy consumption and chemical consumption. The sampling regime is currently being developed with experts involved in environmental regulation, water chemistry and environmental and marine engineering.

    Marine biology institutes and leading aquaria are also being consulted to ensure that GOES results in collecting robust data sets which can be used and mashed with out models to help inform the science and develop our understanding to inform the management of our oceans.



    To contribute to and raise the debate on the global action required to address the declining health of our oceans and the role that priority substances may be playing not only to this decline, but their potential impact on climate change.


    The GOES Leadership & Communication Team

    Dr Howard Dryden, a Scottish marine biologist, who has dedicated his life to minimizing the use of chemicals to treat water across the world. GOES is the start of a new journey in helping to raise the consciousness of the wider public about priority substances.

    To direct and steer an International Advisory Council, and a Scientific Board. Establishing a GOES Foundation for ongoing fundraising and awareness raising purposes is currently being explored to ensure that GOES has a sustained impact. The GOES Foundation will be based in Edinburgh, Scotland.


    Coral bleaching may not be due to climate change

    Coral are a symbiotic organism between a filter feeding animal and an algae. We know that priority chemicals will be adsorbed onto hydrophobic particles such as plastic, if therefore follows that corals will likely have a higher concentration of priority chemicals.

    Priority chemicals will therefore be concentration in the coral. Water temperature will of course cause also cause bleaching, but a high temperature is likely to make the priority chemicals more toxic. The question now is which parameter is the most important. www.GoesFoundation.com states that the priority chemicals are more relevant.

    recent reference

    News items archive

    'Extraordinary' levels of pollutants found in 10km deep Mariana trench

    Newcastle University marine science department have discovered “extraordinary” levels of toxic pollution in the most remote and inaccessible place on the planet – the 10km deep Mariana trench in the Pacific Ocean.

    Small crustaceans that live in the pitch-black waters of the trench, captured by a robotic submarine, were contaminated with 50 times more toxic chemicals than crabs that survive in heavily polluted rivers in China.

    “We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” said Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University in the UK, who led the research.

    “The fact that we found such extraordinary levels of these pollutants really brings home the long-term, devastating impact that mankind is having on the planet,” he said.

    Jamieson’s team identified two key types of severely toxic industrial chemicals that were banned in the late 1970s, but do not break down in the environment, known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These chemicals have previously been found at high levels in Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic and in killer whales and dolphins in western Europe.

    The research, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, suggests that the POPs infiltrate the deepest parts of the oceans as dead animals and particles of plastic fall downwards. POPs accumulate in fat and are therefore concentrated in creatures up the food chain. They are also water-repellent and so stick to plastic waste.