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Oceans, the world’s largest water bodies, are vital for our survival on our planet. In recent years, human activities have been negatively impacting the oceans by marine pollution in the form of plastic, oil, agricultural, and industrial waste.
Our oceans are home to many varieties of marine animals and plants, and pollution has severely affected marine life. It is the collective responsibility of every human being to ensure that they keep the oceans free from pollution so that marine life can survive for a long period.
Pollution is affecting our oceans in many ways, such as:
1. Industrial waste:
Toxic industrial waste is being dumped in large amounts directly in oceans. These pollutants are hazardous for marine life, and also raise the ocean’s temperature. The high temperature makes survival difficult for marine life causing them to perish.
2. Oil spills:
Oil spills from ships are another major cause of marine pollution. The crude oil spilled is challenging to clean up and becomes a permanent part of the ocean. The oil is toxic for marine life, which gets choked and does not survive.
Ocean mining is yet another reason for marine pollution. Several mining sites are drilled for gold, silver, copper, and other metals, and this results in sulfide deposits several thousand metres deep into the ocean. This damages the ocean’s bottom levels and also increases the toxicity making it hazardous for marine life.
Polluting material and sewage flow directly into the ocean through rivers, sewages, and drainages. This reduces the oxygen levels leading to a decline in the quality of seawater and causing plant life decay. It also negatively impacts all animals and other forms of life in the ocean.
Another form of marine pollution is the atmospheric pollution caused by substances that are blown from inland by the wind. These substances can be sand, dust, trash, or debris that is man-made. It also includes plastic debris that then remains inside the ocean for several years since it does not decompose. This plastic can choke the animals who mistake it for food.
Marine pollutions are of the following types:
Many toxins such as pesticides, furans, radioactive waste, or DDT present in the oceans do not get absorbed into the marine ecosystem. They often get collected in the tissue cells of marine life and may cause bioaccumulation, thus endangering their life and even cause a mutation in marine life forms.
More than three-fourths of the debris found in oceans consist of plastics. These plastics are hazardous for the life forms underneath the ocean and may lead to their choking and death.
3. Nutrient pollution:
Excessive amounts of chemical nutrients like phosphates and nitrates in oceans cause nutrient pollution, also called eutrophication. This causes oxygen levels to lower and makes the water unsuitable for marine life like fish. This severely impacts marine life’s breeding process.
4. Increasing acidification:
Oceans perform the big role of absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Oceans are becoming acidic now due to the rising carbon dioxide levels. This increased acidity could cause calcium carbonate structure to dissolve and could impact the development of shells in shellfish and corals as well.
Marine pollution can be controlled to a large extent with the help of these measures:
Beaches are our favourite spots for recreation and are excellent for chilling out. But, the large number of daily visitors leads to a lot of littering everywhere. It would be advisable to place large dustbins on beaches and encourage people to throw away their waste there. Strict rules like penalties must be imposed to prevent people from littering on the sands. People should volunteer to pick up litter to set good examples for others to emulate.
One of the chief ocean pollutants is plastic, and tons of plastic waste is added to oceans daily. Since they do not decompose, the plastics remain in the water for thousands of years, endangering marine life. The only practical way to reduce plastic pollution is to reduce the use of plastic products.
It would be advisable to stop using utensils or bottles that can be used only once. Such items made of plastic or Styrofoam do not decompose and are major contributors to marine pollution. It would be best to use reusable items such as those made of metals and reduce dependency on plastic products.
Recycling is an effective solution to minimize waste production. We need to examine our items before disposing of them and check to see whether they can be recycled. If they can, then it is just a matter of taking them to the nearest recycling centre. Many items like paper, glass, metals, and even electronic equipment can be recycled.
The growing marine pollution is a cause of concern worldwide. We, as responsible citizens, should take proactive steps to stop adding to the pollution and help to make our oceans cleaner. If we act today and take the preventive steps listed above, the lifespan of marine life would be enhanced, making the world a better place for future generations.
About Plastic Collectors: Plastic Collectors is an organization that aims to reduce plastic waste damaging our planet, and at the same time, help the poor people of the world. We have helped collect millions of tons of plastic waste worldwide so far. The aim is to gather a billion people to collect plastic and enhance the life quality of the poor in regions with huge amounts of plastic waste. We also provide an opportunity for you to become a Plastic Collector Investor by allowing your investment to grow while helping the world become cleaner. Learn more about how you can join the cause.