Pollution of the Oceans
Pollutionof the Oceans
Oceanpollution involves the addition of chemicals and toxins and materialscontaining harmful substances into the sea. Pollution in water bodiescan also take the form of shoreline degradation, which is a commonproblem in modern times. Runoff from farming and industrialactivities has contributed significantly to ocean pollution. Some ofthe pollutants that find their way into oceans include detergents,plastics, fertilizers with harmful chemicals, herbicides, as well assewage. Marine organisms consume these chemicals, and thiscontributes to the destruction of marine life. Moreover, some of thepollutants can be released into the environment or find their wayinto the food chain, thus affecting humans. The aquatic organismsmost affected by ocean pollution are fish, which can die as a resultof the pollutants. There are several sources of ocean pollution aswill be discussed in this paper. The paper also addresses thestrategies that can be used to solve the problem of contamination inthe oceans.
Sourcesof Ocean Pollution
Oneof the sources of ocean pollution is toxic chemicals, which arereleased by industries. Over the years, there has been an increase inindustrial activities with many firms being involved inmanufacturing. Toxic liquids from industries are deposited in waterbodies such as oceans. These liquids are hazardous and contribute tothe death of marine life. When the toxics enter the ocean, thermalpollution takes place in that temperatures in the ocean become high(OECD 15). As a result, plants and animals in the oceans are affectedsince it is not possible to survive when temperatures are high. Inanimals, the chemicals can be attributed to the failure of organs andnegatively affecting the reproductive system, thus leading to areduction in the aquatic population.
Theoil and gas industry is another source of ocean pollution thatconsiderably affects marine life. Most of the reserves with oil canbe found under the floor of the sea. This means that the drilling andtransportation of oil from the wells that are near oceans adverselyaffected marine life. Moreover, oil spills are a main cause ofpollution in seas. On numerous occasions, there are large spills ofoil, which find their way in oceans, thus leading to the death ofmarine organisms. There are also small oil leaks that cause damage tothe marine species. An oil spill associated with BP, which took placein 2010, affected aquatic life. Millions of crude oil gallons werespilled into water bodies and this had an adverse effect on the oceanecosystem. Oil can also spill while being transported using ships,especially when there are accidents and storms in seas (Coe andDonald 12).
Anothersource of ocean pollution is ocean mining. This takes place whenthere is drilling to get minerals such as gold, silver, copper, andzinc among other precious metals. During such mining activities,deposits of sulfide are created in the ocean and this has an impacton the organisms. Sea mining, especially when done deep in theoceans, leads to the destruction of the low levels in this ecosystem.As a result, the ocean becomes more toxic and cannot sustain some ofthe aquatic life. The sea is damaged permanently when mining takesplace and this can be risk factor for leaking (Pearson and Fraja 9).The environmental damage caused by ocean mining is irreversible.Degradation of the seabed habitat is experienced when this activityis carried out in oceans. There is also a likelihood that somespecies will become extinct as they are unable to survive in adamaged environment.
Thedumping of garbage has been another source of ocean pollution. Everyyear, billions of pounds of waste materials are dumped in oceans.Some of the garbage that contributes to pollution of the oceanecosystem includes balloons, materials used for packaging, glassbottles and plastic bags. This human activity contributes to oceanicdumps, which are harmful to marine life. When plastic garbage isdeposited in oceans, it is broken into small pieces and the aquaticorganisms can mistake it for food (Coe and Donald 14). This meansthat the marine species will ingest the plastic materials and this isharmful since it leads to the blockage of breathing passages. Theother effect of garbage dumping is diminishing the amount of oxygenpresent in water. This has a serious impact on the health of marineanimals. The aquatic animals mostly affected by dumping include fish,seabirds, crabs, crocodiles, dolphins and turtles (OECD 10).
Sewagedisposal is another source of ocean pollution. Pollutants from sewagecan flow to the ocean through drainage and rivers. Untreated sewageis the main cause of pollution in seas since it is harmful to theenvironment. There are instances when sludge from the treatment ofsewage can be dumped in oceans. Water used in toilets, for cookingand washing can easily find its way to the ocean as gray water, andthis causes the death of marine life. Water contaminated with sewageis a major cause of eutrophication. This means that there is highconcentration of chemical elements when such water is released intooceans. When waste is released in oceans, it is eaten by aquaticorganisms such as fish, which are later consumed by humans. Thus,there is a high health risk to consumers and it is not only themarine species that are affected by sewage disposal (Coe and Donald16).
Strategiesto Reduce Ocean Pollution
Severalstrategies have been implemented to reduce the sources of oceanpollution. These policies aim at ensuring that sea water is notcontaminated with harmful substances. One of the plans that serve asa solution to this problem is the establishment of treatment plants.Such plants are essential in the treatment of sewage water. Thisensures that human waste is not harmful to the aquatic organisms whenreleased into oceans (Pearson and Fraja 12). Governments in mostparts of the world have invested heavily in sewage treatment toreduce the impact of water pollution, which results from this source.Proper waste disposal is another approach that can be used to reduceocean pollution. Waste materials such as plastic bags should bedisposed properly to avoid them from getting into the sea. Recyclingof rubbish can reduce pollution that emanates from dumping. Withproper use of modern technology, it is possible to recycled wastematerials that have already been used (OECD 21).
Propermaintenance of streams is another strategy that can significantlyreduce ocean pollution. It is evident that many rivers and streamsflow into seas and it is through them that wastes are deposited inthe water bodies. Strict regulations should be put in place to reducethrowing of waste in rivers. Moreover, the relevant authoritiesshould work towards ensuring that there is no farming near waterbodies such as rivers. This way, harmful chemicals cannot be releasedinto rivers through agricultural activities. Planting of vegetationin river reserves also discourages farming activities in sensitiveareas of the ecosystem. Protection of the deep sea can also go a longway in addressing ocean pollution. Commercial mining should bebalanced and ensure the protection of marine life. Mining regulationsshould be put in place to ensure that ocean mining does notcompromise the marine ecosystem. Moreover, it is essential to havelaws that designate oceans as no-mining zones. This can ensure thatthe fragile habitats in the deep sea are protected from theactivities of miners (Coe and Donald 18).
Oceanpollution is a serious problem that affects marine life and causesnumerous health hazards. Contamination of the sea water can be causedby spilling of oil, dumping of waste materials, toxic chemicalsreleased through industrial activities, and deep sea mining amongothers. When ocean water is contaminated, the health of aquaticorganisms is compromised, and this can have devastating effects onthis ecosystem. Animals such as fish, crocodiles, crabs, and turtlescan die as a result of water contamination. Plants such as coralreefs are also affected by oil spills. The pollution of oceans canalso deplete oxygen in water this is because there is nodecomposition of marine debris. With low levels of oxygen in the sea,aquatic organisms have little chances of surviving. Some strategiessuch as waste water treatment and regulation of sea mining can helpaddress the issue of pollution in the seas. Governments should worktowards ensuring that marine life is protected. This will enhance thesustainability of the marine ecosystem.
Coe,James M, and Donald B. Rogers. MarineDebris: Sources, Impacts, and Solutions.New York, NY: Springer New York, 2012. Print.
OECD.MarineBiotechnology: Enabling Solutions for Ocean Productivity andSustainability.Paris: OECD, 2013. Print.Bottomof FormTop of Form
Pearson,E A, and Fraja De. MarinePollution and Marine Waste Disposal: Proceedings of the 2ndInternational Congress, San Remo, 17-21 December, 1973.Oxford: Pergamon Press, 2013. Print.
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