Pollution in Ocean – Causes and Effects

Essay on Ocean Pollution | Marine Pollution | Pollution

The largest bodies of water on Earth are oceans. Excessive human activity has had a negative impact on marine life in Earth’s oceans over the past few decades. The spread of hazardous materials including oil, plastic, industrial and agricultural waste, and chemical particles into the ocean is referred to as ocean pollution, also known as marine pollution.

Various Causes of the Marine Pollution

There are many reasons due to which the pollutants reach the ocean water and affects the ecosystem.

1. Land Runoff

Land runoff is one of the source of pollution in the ocean. When water infiltrates the soil to its fullest capacity due to rain, flooding, or melting, the extra water travels over the land and into the ocean.

This water frequently picks up dangerous pollutants generated by humans that harm the ocean, such as pesticides, fertilizers, and other soil contaminants. Dead zones in the water can be greatly harmed by fertilizers and garbage from people and land animals.

2. Oil Spills

Oil spills are the most destructive result of ship pollution, which is a significant contributor of ocean pollution. Crude oil is extremely hazardous to marine life and can entrap it, often causing the animals to suffocate to death. It can remain for years in the sea. Unfortunately, crude oil is also very difficult to clean up, so when it is split, it typically stays there.

Additionally, each year hundreds of containers are lost by numerous ships as a result of storms, catastrophes, and mishaps. This results in excessive algal blooms, ballast water, and noise pollution (excessive, unexpected noise that disturbs the delicate balance of life).

The foreign species can also enter into the water and destroy the lifecycle of the native species, which can also result in extinction of that particular species totally.

3. Sewage

Direct pollution entry into the ocean is possible. Pollutants or sewage are discharged into the ocean by drainage systems, rivers, or sewer systems. Minerals and other contaminants from mining camps frequently end up in the water in this way.

Other chemical fertilizers that are released into the ocean’s environment cause oxygen levels to drop, plant life to deteriorate, and the seawater’s quality to drastically deteriorate. All facets of maritime life, including plants and animals, are consequently severely impacted.

4. Hazardous Industrial Chemicals

Another prominent type of waste that is directly dumped into the oceans and causes ocean pollution is industrial and agricultural waste.

Because they are dangerous, hazardous liquids dumped into the ocean have an immediate negative impact on marine life. Additionally, because these liquids have a high temperature, they cause thermal pollution, which raises the ocean’s temperature. Eventually, plants and animals that cannot endure greater temperatures die.

5. Ocean mining

Another source of ocean pollution is deep-sea ocean mining. Sulfide deposits can be found up to 3.5 km (1.8 mi) below the surface of the water at ocean mining sites that drill for metals like silver, gold, copper, cobalt, and zinc.

While we still lack sufficient scientific data to completely explain the severe environmental effects of deep-sea mining, we do have a general understanding that it harms the ocean’s deepest layers and raises the area’s toxicity. The region’s ecosystem is further severely hampered by the leaks, corrosion, and oil spills that result from this persistent damage.

6. Littering

Unbelievable as it may seem, the atmosphere is a major source of ocean pollution. This happens when items from far interior are carried far by the wind and end up in the ocean.

These items can be composed of anything, including waste and debris, as well as natural materials like sand and dust. The majority of waste, particularly plastic trash, cannot degrade and hangs around in the ocean current for a long time.

Animals may get tangled in the plastic or mistake it for food, which will cause it to slowly kill them over time. Turtles, dolphins, fish, sharks, crabs, seabirds, and crocodiles are among the animals that are frequently harmed by plastic litter.

What are the Effects Pollution in Ocean?

1. How toxic wastes affect marine life

Marine life is under peril from the oil disaster in a number of ways. The gills and feathers of marine animals may become contaminated by oil spilt in the ocean, making it difficult for them to move, fly, or feed their young. Marine life may experience behavioural changes, cancer, reproductive system failure, or even death as a result of long-term effects.

2. Causes disruption in the coral reef cycle

An oil spill floats on the water’s surface, blocking sunlight from reaching marine plants and interfering with photosynthesis. Over time, marine life may have skin discomfort, eye irritation, lung and liver issues.

3. Reduces Water’s Oxygen Content

The majority of oceanic debris does not break down and floats around for many years. As it breaks down, oxygen is used. The effect is a decrease in oxygen levels. The likelihood that marine animals like whales, turtles, sharks, dolphins, and penguins would survive for a very long time likewise decreases when oxygen levels drop.

4. The Sea Animal Reproductive System Fails

Waste products from industry and agriculture can contain noxious substances that are dangerous to marine life. Animals’ fatty tissue can store chemicals from pesticides, which can cause their reproductive system to malfunction.

5. Impact on the Food Chain

Chemicals used in agriculture and industry are washed into rivers, where they are transported to the ocean. These substances do not dissolve and end up at the ocean’s bottom. These compounds are consumed by small animals, which subsequently disrupt the entire food chain when ingested by large animals.

6. Effects on Human Health

Humans consume animals from the damaged food chain, which has an influence on their health because the poisons from these contaminated animals end up in their tissues and might cause cancer, birth defects, or long-term health difficulties.

What are Some Solutions for Ocean Pollution?

1. Cut Back on the use of single-use plastics.

Wherever you reside, cutting back on your own usage of single-use plastics is the quickest and most straightforward way to get started. Plastic bags, water bottles, straws, cups, cutlery, dry cleaning bags, take-out containers, and other products that are used only once before being thrown away are all examples of single-use plastics.

The best way to achieve this is to refrain from using any single-use plastics (such as straws, plastic bags, takeout utensils, and takeout containers). Also buy and carry around reusable variants of those products, such as reusable produce bags, grocery bags, bottles, utensils, coffee cups, and dry cleaning garment bags. 

2. Recycle responsibly

It should go without saying, but always make sure to recycle single-use (and other) plastics when using them. Only 9% of plastic is being recycled globally. Recycling lessens the supply of “new” plastic in use and helps keep plastics out of the ocean. 

3. Organize or Take Part in a Beach or River Cleanup

By taking part in or organizing a cleaning of your neighborhood beach or river, you may aid in the removal of plastics from the ocean and the prevention of their arrival there in the first place. This is among the most effective and satisfying ways to combat the contamination of the oceans by plastic. You can just go to the beach or waterway on your own, with friends, or with your family, and collect plastic waste there. Alternatively, you can participate in a local organization’s cleanup or an international event like the International Coastal Cleanup.

4. Avoid using items that contain microbeads

In recent years, tiny plastic “microbeads” have expanded as a significant cause of ocean plastic pollution. Some face scrubs, toothpastes, and body washes include microbeads, which are harmful to hundreds of marine species and easily infiltrate our seas and streams through our sewer systems. Look for “polythelene” and “polypropylene” on the ingredient labels of your cosmetic products to steer clear of anything that contain plastic microbeads.

5. Cutting Back on Chemical Fertilizer Use

The oceans are severely polluted by runoffs as well. Chemical fertilizer use needs to be managed and regulated as well in order to prevent this. It is important to keep in mind that using chemical fertilizers excessively damages the soil, adjacent water bodies, and ultimately the ocean. These runoffs are so poisonous that marine creatures can easily succumb from them.

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