It’s a sad fact that our oceans are literally and figuratively down in the dumps. And they are slowly dying.
According to WWF, more than 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities.
The waste we produce on land inevitably ends up in the ocean, whether they were dumped there deliberately or they found their way there through drains and rivers.
Here are some of the ocean’s pollutants :
POINT SOURCE POLLUTION. This is pollution that comes from a single source like an oil spill. Although they cause tremendous damage to marine life, oil spills are responsible for only about 12% of the oil entering the oceans each year. Other examples of this kind of pollution are the discharge from faulty factories or water treatment systems.
NON-POINT SOURCE POLLUTION. This usually occurs as a result of runoff. Runoff isthe surface water that flows over land instead of being absorbed into groundwater or evaporating. It usually ends up discharged into a stream. Examples of these include septic tanks, cars, trucks, boats, airplanes, and larger sources like farms, livestock ranches and timber harvest areas.
FERTILIZERS. When fertilizer runoff occurs, the extra nutrients that come from it cause eutrophication which causes the flourishing of algae in the water. This overproduction depletes the water’s dissolved oxygen, depriving other marine life and causing them to suffocate or leave the area. Eutrophication has caused dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Baltic Sea.
GARBAGE. Although plastics are the no. 1 culprit, glass bottles, balloons, shoes, packaging materials and everything else we throw away can eventually end up in our oceans. Fishing equipment that has been abandoned or lost at sea is another dangerous major pollutant because it can entangle most marine life. Abandoned vessels are pollutants too.
TOXIC CHEMICALS.Pesticides, chemicals from consumer products, chemical weapons and radioactive waste are some of the toxins found in our oceans. They are released into the water, during their manufacture, use, disposal, and during accidental leaks as well. The ocean currents carry these chemicals over long distances, rather than dispersing them into smaller particles.
There is a growing awareness about the danger to our oceans. And several organizations and the private sector have accepted the challenge to try to put a stop to this.
You could contribute to it as well. Reduce your plastic consumption and go with reusable products instead. Or organize a cleanup of your local waterway. Or simply avoid throwing trash into the ocean the next time you are at the beach.
Help us save our oceans and preserve this very important, life-giving resource.