The Sanctuary’s coastline is not immune to the current trend. The urbanization and industrialization of coastal areas are increasing and are not always managed through a responsible and sustainable approach. 

France’s two coastal departments (Var and Alpes-Maritimes), Corsica, the Principality of Monaco and the three Italian provinces (Liguria, Tuscany and Sassari in Sardinia) that border the Sanctuary are home to some eight million inhabitants. Obviously, this figure does not include summer visitors.
The French Riviera (Alpes-Maritimes and Monaco) and the one million people living there attracted over nine million tourists in 2002 (source: INSEE), for a total spend of over five billion euros. In Italy, around 10% of the country’s population live along the perimeter of the Sanctuary, i.e. 5.6 million people (source: ISTAT).
The Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, France’s most populated coastal region (according to INSEE estimates, there were 4.781.000 inhabitants in 2006), provides a good example of this ‘coastalization’ as its coastal area, which makes up 10% of the region, is home to 90% of the region’s permanent and seasonal inhabitants. Nor is Corsica able to escape the phenomenon of ‘coastalization’, although the island does have the distinction – a rare one in this part of the Mediterranean – of having sections of coast where there is little urbanization, with notable and sizeable areas that are entirely preserved.
Tourism, then, is a key economic activity in the Corso-Liguro-Provençal Basin, although it places significant pressure on natural resources.

In addition, the general migration of the population to the urban coastal area results in an increased need for water, energy, infrastructure and means of transport. Appropriate methods for processing waste and sewage generated by the coastal population and in catchment areas are sorely needed.
Marine mammal populations, associated species and their habitats now face a number of threats. For example, cetaceans are liable to be affected by pathogens found in sewage water, as well as by ingesting plastic bags thrown out to sea.

In addition to coastal construction work, other anthropic activities can have an effect on cetaceans: certain agricultural practices in coastal areas and catchment areas affect the marine environment and play a role in soil erosion, deforestation and freshwater pollution, which can be caused, in particular, by fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides. Changes to the hydrographic network within catchment areas as a result of the construction of dams, canals and reservoirs can also impact the quality and quantity of freshwater flowing into the Sanctuary area and can also be a source of land-based pollution.

Chemical, petrochemical and metallurgical industrial activity, as well as waste processing and solvent regeneration, the surface treatment of metals, the production of paper, paint, dyes and plastics, printing works and tanneries, oil and gas refineries, sand and gravel quarries, well drilling and desalinization and power plants use water from the Mediterranean or freshwater from the catchment areas in their production lines and waste disposal. There can be a direct impact on coastal areas in the form of sewage and air pollution as well as indirect effects from the urbanization and development occurring as a result of these facilities being nearby.


Pollution caused by pesticides (DDT etc.), heavy use of fertilizers (nitrates etc.), heavy metals (mercury etc), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), land-based pathogens, microplastics, macro-waste leading to physiological disorders and other health issues.