Effects of Dredging on the Marine Environment

Dredging is an activity that is required to be carried out to remove the unwanted deposits from water pathways. But even though the activity aids regularity in marine traffic, it is not without its disadvantages. Dredging possess a huge threat to the marine environment and is required to be carried out quite carefully aided only with the help of the right dredgers and dredges.

Since the main focus of dredging is to remove the deposits submerged under, the environmental effects of the process also revolve around this focal point. Some of the effects of dredging can be enumerated as follows:

  • The soil deposits in any water-body have a certain pre-disposed composition. Through dredging this composition is altered
  • Because of the said alteration, the existing habitat of creatures and organisms that depends on the original composition of the soil dies out due to the unfavourableness of the changes caused
  • The turbidness of the soil under the water also changes because of this alteration in the underwater soil composition. This poses problems by way of creation of newer and harmful organisms, transferring of unwanted organisms to other parts in the water-body leading to a wider spread of contamination and organic processes by way of release of extra and unwanted nutrients. The turbidness also causes the already existing contaminations to spread further into the water-body which also affects the marine environment adversely

However, all the points mentioned above pertain to dredging of water-bodies with clean soil deposits. But sometimes, dredging is also carried out to weed out the contaminations present in the soil. The effects and the biodiversity impacts of contaminated deposit-dredging are:

  • The dredging of contaminated materials will cause the harmful particles to regroup and spread to a larger area in the water body
  • Since dredging loosens up the soil, those substances which were previously held fast to the contaminated deposit will find their way into the water and the un-dredged soil. If these substances are harmful organisms then they will cause a substantial degradation to the environment even after dredging the area
  • The water could get polluted because of the soil particles mixing with the water. And while this does not have huge biodiversity impacts, it is indeed an unwanted side-effect of dredging


In order to ensure that the process of dredging is carried out without any debilitating effects, it is important to use the right dredgers. For example, the hopper dredgers that suction out the deposits are considered to be a major cause for turbidness in the dredged water-part. It has been recommended that those dredgers which present a chance for pollution and extensive contamination be avoided and replaced with other safer methodologies.

The marine world is facing a precarious scenario. This is why it becomes necessary for us to take all possible measures to ensure its safety for the generations in the days to come. By employing proper methods to the process of dredging, we can make quite a substantial contribution to put an end to the negative environmental effects of dredging.

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