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Despite society's clear desire to protect the environment, many estuaries and coastal waters in the United States exhibit adverse effects from waste disposal and other sources of pollutants. This is distressing because of the great commercial, recreational, ecological, and aesthetic importance of these waters. If the Nation wishes to further protect and improve the health of estuaries and coastal waters, increased efforts to minimize disposal, reduce the levels of pollutants in municipal and industrial discharges, and reduce runoff will be needed. The ability to minimize disposal depends on the feasibility of management options on land and in the open ocean. This paper explores the relationship between current waste management policies in these other environments and attempts to minimize disposal in estuaries and coastal waters.