It is now widely recognized by governments, scientists and the general public that we are polluting the world on an unprecedented scale. The fragile net of interconnections that makes up the planet's living fabric is being disrupted by our actions: by patterns of exploitation and recreation, by flows of wastes and effluents, by thoughtlessness and greed.

Many dolphin populations are now subject to a cocktail of pollutants, a confluence of human pressures and a conflict of interests. The following case histories highlight both the urgency of the problem and the necessity of developing new solutions - legislative, technological, social and political.

The current plight of the dolphins and other marine mammals is the first indicator of wider problems in the marine environment. It may also be symptomatic of a deep-seated disharmony between human development and the natural world. The steps that we take to save them will have important implications for tackling other global problems, and for our own future.

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