Human Impacts

Over 3 million people live in the Canadian part of the Georgia Basin. That is equal to 100,000 classrooms each filled with 30 kids!


This large population of people means that many human activities can affect the health of the Georgia Basin.

For example, urban and coastal development often results in the loss of habitat to make room for building homes, schools, shopping centers, factories, roads and parking lots. These activities can release or speed up the release of environmental contaminants to the coastal waters of the Georgia Basin.

Other human activities that may produce and release environmental contaminants include:

  • Oil and fuel leaks and spills from ships and pleasure boats, and cars and trucks that enter the ocean directly or indirectly through run-off from paved surfaces like driveways, roads and parking lots, and through ditches and streams.
  • Fertilizers and pesticides used in forestry, farming or household activities can end up in ditches, streams, rivers and the ocean.
  • Factories, mines, and pulp and paper mills can discharge chemicals to the ocean.

Environmental contaminants may also contribute to climate change. For example, increasing carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from cars and trucks contributes to climate change, which may alter the health of the oceans by reducing nutrient supply to food webs.