Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

International Studies

First Advisor

Budd, Ann

First Committee Member

Spak, Scott

Second Committee Member

Laurian, Lucie

Third Committee Member

Ryang, Sonia


Mexico is home to almost 2.9 million square kilometers of land and water surface area that is affected by water pollution and environmental degradation. While geographically more prevalent to pollution threats as well as one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, it is important to coordinate the management and regulation of coastal zones effectively to safeguard these ecosystem from degradation. However, because of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, nations view the problem of living resources and their management as a national priority instead of an international cooperation initiative. Mexico's fragmented, overlapping, and sometimes corrupt domestic institutions for environmental policy yield ineffective and inadequate pollution control, a result of which is a high level of marine debris presence on the coasts, as evidenced by a recent study in Veracruz, Veracruz. This marine debris, the most abundant of which is composed of plastics, is detrimental to marine life, leading to death, starvation, debilitation, reduced quality of life and lowered reproductive performance. While several avenues are being explored to mitigate marine debris in the environment, such as decreasing knowledge gaps, increasing pollution prevention measures, and education, degradation issues have compounded globally, revealing a clear picture of inadequate international regulation and convention. A stricter Mexican national regulatory system that incorporates private and public waste management organizations to incentivize and facilitate waste cleanup is needed to improve the health of the global ocean.


Gulf of Mexico, Law of the Sea, Marine debris, Mexico


vi, 78 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 68-78).


Copyright 2014 Blake Rupe