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I live in Melbourne near a bay, and it always seems really dirty, whenever I go out to the open ocean the water always seems much cleaner. Is there a reason for this, does the bay trap pollution or do the waves from the ocean break up the pollution or does the ocean simply have more area to store waste?

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    $\begingroup$ Please be more precise. Define the type of pollution/dirt, define the prevailing winds, the shape of the bay, etc. $\endgroup$ – Erik Nov 11 at 9:01
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I had the same experience when I lived in Cardiff, South Wales. When I lived there, the waters around Cardiff were always greyish and uninviting, but the further away one got, the more blue-green and transparent the sea became. Fifty miles west on the Gower coast, the water was pristine and beautifully transparent, more like the Mediterranean.

The reason for this was two fold: a lot of effluent from the city, including sewage, was discharged into the sea, and the river Taff, which runs through Cardiff, brought down a lot of industrial effluent from the Welsh valleys. It is a matter of common sense that the sea dispersed and diluted the pollution the further away from the big city one looked. I understand that the river and the city are much cleaner now, but I think the murky waters of Melbourne which you describe are due to the same sort of causes which many years ago fouled the waters around Cardiff.

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    $\begingroup$ It's not just "pollution". Rivers will carry sediment to the ocean, which will mostly fall out near land, forming river deltas. And the constant action of the waves on the coast causes erosion, with finer particles being carried some distance from the shore. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Nov 12 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ Water pollution can come into a bay from the outside as well. I heard that Green Bay, WI got it's name because the bay was green from all the junk that blew across Lake Superior, entered the enclosed bay and stayed there and stank. There isn't really any way for it to blow back out to "sea" once it enters the bay. $\endgroup$ – Tim Nevins Nov 12 at 20:58

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