Law and Effect
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS The East Asian Seas are characterized by distinctive ecosystems and vast biodiversity. The seas of East Asia include The Philippines Sea, Sulu Sea, Timor Sea, Celebes Sea, Arafura Sea, Banda Sea, Flores Sea, South China Sea, Java Sea, the Straits of Singapore, Straits of Mallaca, the Oceans of Australia and the Andaman Sea (UNEP 2008). The straits and channels connect the seas with scattered islands throughout. There are volcanic and coral islands, deepsea basins, and shallow continental islands (Teng 2006). Within East Asia, there is significant biodiversity of marine animals and plants. It has arguably the most diverse ecology of flora and fauna in the world. It is also abundant with sea grass, mangroves and large coral reef islands (UNEP 2005c). The East Asian region is classified into three sectors that include Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, and Australia. Each sector has unique biological structures, weather patterns and economic bases. Nonetheless environmental problems are undeniably interconnected. East Asia is one of the fastest growing regions globally, which amplifies existing environmental problems. Its population and economic growth are matched only by the severity of its environmental destruction. The region is host to abundant natural resources but the conditions of its coastal and ocean resources are in significant decline. It is home to many densely populated nations and is the location of thirteen of the world’s most polluted cities (ESCAP 2009). Regions in East Asia in particular have experienced unprecedented economic growth and rapid urbanization. The increase in high levels of...
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