The Barents Sea is considered a cleaner environment than many other European seas, due to few local sources of pollution. However, for some types of pollutants there are well-known reasons to concern. Industries on the Kola Peninsula emit a wide spectrum of pollutants to the marine environment. The Barents Sea is influenced by pollution with origin outside the area which is transported into the area by ocean currents, ice drift or by the atmosphere.
The long-range transport of contaminants is the most widespread source of pollution to the Barents Sea. The increasing oil and gas exploration activity and the transportation of oil along the coast of the Barents Sea are other potential sources of contamination to the area.
This chapter defines words related to pollution and identifies sources of pollution to the Barents Sea. Levels of contaminants in the environment are discussed in chapter Pollution and impact on the ecosystem is discussed in chapter Human impact.