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Covering over more than 70% of Mother Earth, oceans are the origin and the engines of all life on this planet. In a nutshell, oceans are the heart of the planet! Period!
Oceans not only produce more oxygen than the Amazons but they are the home of millions of underwater species. And obviously, the biggest creatures alive on Earth are found in the mysterious depth of oceans.
The worth if oceans are not restricted to oxygen and underwater ecosystems, they govern the weather, clean the air, feed the world, and provide a living for millions.
Can you imagine your life on Earth without any ocean bodies? Scary huh! That’s the reason this article is in place.
Fasten up your seat belts to go on an ocean ride and understand various facts about ocean pollution and the importance of our marine environment.
First, let’s start with the basics
In layman terms, ocean pollution is the poisoning of the largest water reservoirs of Earth through chemicals and thrash.
As a result of this, marine life is dying and the whole oceanic ecosystem is in jeopardy.
Earlier it was assumed that oceans are too vast deep and dumping litters and thrash into them won’t do any harm. But that was the time when we couldn’t grasp the consequences of our actions. Today it has resulted in such drastic measures that the whole world is worried about the fact of water pollution.
From dangerous carbon emissions to leaking oil, to floating plastics to constant noise- oceans are bearing it all.
Take a dig into all these ocean pollution facts and by the end of this section, you will be amazed to witness how little we knew about the blue.
Yes, you read that right! Did you know that more than eight million metric tonnes of plastics are dumped into the ocean each year? That’s equivalent to 57,000 blue whales.
According to reports from the World Economic Forum, by 2050 plastics in oceans will outbalance all the fishes in the ocean. That’s too scary! This is the result of unstructured dumping of plastic wastes into the landfills that ultimately runs down to the oceans and pollutes it.
You can’t imagine the amount of junk and debris accumulated on the water bodies. There is so much junk that the debris has formed 5 floating plastic islands around the world.
Among all of them, the biggest is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is estimated to be equivalent to the size of France, Spain and Germany put together. It has more than 1.8 trillion pieces of thrash and is eradicating marine life and affecting the world’s climate as well.
Yes! We have believed all these years that oil spills from offshore drilling are a major factor in water pollution.
But according to new reports, oil spills from headline-grabbing oils account for only 12 percent of the oil in our oceans. But oils from roads, rivers, and drain pipes are carried out to sea and are excessively harmful. The oil lingers around for decades and causes irreversible damages to our marine life.
Ocean pollution from plastics is no brainer. But there is more to it! Did you know that ocean thrash is broken into smaller pieces known as microplastics? Yes! This process takes place inside the ocean bodies accompanied by sun exposure and wave action.
This is consumed by the fishes and marine animals which ultimately comes back into the food chain. When plastic degrades further, the process releases chemicals that contaminate the entire sea.
China and Indonesia are the biggest contributors of plastics in the oceans. Shouldn’t we thank them (DUH!) They account for more than one-third of the plastic pollution in the oceans.
The rest of the contribution of plastic into the oceans is from the other 20 countries, inclusive of the United States.
Now some may argue that oceans look so clean and calm. For all those our there, the thrash settles at the bottom of the ocean and that’s the reason you cannot see them floating on the surface.
According to reports, more than 70% of the ocean garbage sinks to the seafloor which means they will always be there without any real clean up! How gross is that!
A large amount of agricultural nutrients flows into ocean bodies. Chemicals such as nitrogen which is dominant in the agricultural nutrients stimulate explosive growth of algae.
With the passage of time, when the algae decompose, the oxygen of the surrounding water is consumed which creates vast dead zones that ultimately kill fishes in the area and affect marine life.
Scientists have found 146 hypoxic zones (areas that have low oxygen concentration and as a result fishes and marine life suffocates) in the oceans, in 2004. By 2008 the number jumped to whooping 405.
In 2017, a group of oceanographers detected a dead zone (hypoxic zone) near the Gulf of Mexico, which is as big as the size of New Jersey!
The noise pollution from ships and military activities like submarines releases strong noises that cause cellular damage to a class of invertebrates that live down the ocean bed.
These animals are the source of food for other underwater creatures that ultimately damage and affect the marine ecosystem on a large scale.
Did you know more than 700000 synthetic microfibers are washed into the ocean with each load of laundry?
Unlike natural materials like cotton and wool, synthetic plasticized figures do not break down, and the results can be seen in all beach thrashes. According to reports, more than 85% of all beach thrash are synthetic microfibers.
These ocean pollution facts are extremely worrying. Fortunately, it’s not too late! Yes! We can still make a huge difference. It’s not always up to the government to take actions and measures to control the pollution and save our marine ecosystem. We as individuals, if we come forward we can save the fate of our blue planet.
About Plastic Collectors: At Plastic Collectors, we have found a creative way to address the plague of plastic wastes and turn it to money. Our goal is simple: To reduce plastics from the ocean and turn them into money with the right efforts and also to improve the life of poor people. You can learn more about the initiative, or join the cause by clicking here.