The ocean is a large mass of water covering the earth. On the planet, there are five major oceans, namely pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Antarctic, and Arctic oceans. The big water bodies called seas cover about 361000000 kilometers square representing approximately 71% of the earth's surface (Tuna 2019). Oceans are a vital natural resource on the planet. It produces almost half of the oxygen that people and animals breathe; it also absorbs most of the carbon dioxide. The oceans regulate the temperature on earth by transporting the heat to the north and South Pole keeping us fresh. Sea is the habitat of living things like fish and plants. Fish are a source of food to people and even other animals. Ocean also is a recreational resource as well as transportation. The ocean is a significant link to the continents through transport. It has economic and medicinal benefits, as well. Over an extended period, oceans have been polluted by human beings through their activities, which vary, causing a lot of adverse effects to the sea and the earth's environment at large. This paper discusses the general health of oceans in terms of pollution, the impact, and strategies that have been made to reduce the cause of ocean pollutants.
Ocean pollution occurs typically through the entry of harmful substances to the ocean. The toxic elements of the pollutants come from industrial, agricultural, and residential waste arising in human activities. Some activities contribute to the pollution of the oceans. Ocean pollution can have various types. The first type of ocean pollution is acidification. The nature of ocean components includes zinc, which is responsible for the absorption of carbon dioxide, as stated earlier. Acidification of the ocean occurs when the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases. The pollutants that cause acidification and its effects on the sea will be discussed in this paper. The second type of ocean pollution is Eutrophication. Acidification is the increase of chemical substances in seawater. Examples of chemical compounds that lead to eutrophication in oceans include nitrogen and phosphorus. This chemical originates from agricultural activities like fertilization, spraying of crops with chemicals. Chemicals from fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other farm chemicals are swept away by water into the seas through the runway.
The chemicals upon entering the sea damage the ecosystem by either causing a lot of growth and decay or leading to a lack of respiratory gases in water. They also lower the quality of water, which supports life. The third primary type of ocean pollution is toxins in the sea (Howard, 2018). Toxins enter the sea through different pollutants or a combination of the contaminants. Most viruses are present in plastics, which are dumped into sea irresponsibly by people. Other examples of toxins include radioactive wastes, furans, dioxins, phenol, and heavy metallic chemical elements like mercury, lead, nickel, and arsenic. The effects of these toxins are discussed later in this paper.
People usually direct sewage wastewater into the oceans as a way of getting rid of them. Most wastewater comes from toilets and other dirty water, which may contain harmful substances contributing to ocean pollution. The toxic substances kill' oceans' life. It is essential to treat wastewater before channeling them into the seas; alternative sewage water disposal can also be used to avoid pollution of oceans. Most governments have put in place strategies to ensure that sewage water does not pollute the sea by providing alternative dumping sites. There is the process of proper sewage treatment options, which include recycling. Exploration of treatment options that are friendly to the environment can also offer a solution.
Industrial chemicals are another major pollutant of the ocean. Many industries manufacturing and different processing products contain chemicals that, when dumped to the water, may alter with the PH of ocean water, making it inhabitable by aquatic life. Much marine life is lost due to the chemicals from industries. Just like in domestic wastewater, industrial waste should never be dumped to oceans unless they have been treated. Policies are governing industrial waste across the world, however many people tend to break the systems which call for more reinforcement of the procedures to save our oceans. Manufacturing companies also release hot water into oceans causing thermal pollution. Hot water changes the temperature of the sea, thus reducing the supply of oxygen, affecting the ecosystem composition. High temperatures also kill aquatic animals that are adapted to specific temperatures in the sea. The same policy should apply to thermal pollution.
Although it is not a significant cause of ocean pollution, oil spillage can cause a lot of damage to the seas. Oils from ships sailing across oceans a times spill accidentally polluting the sea. Oil covers the water by forming a layer on the surface of the water, preventing oxygen circulation, which is a respiratory gas for the aquatic life. Lack of oxygen in the water will kill the animals and plants in the sea. It is, therefore, necessary to prevent oil spillage, and if it happens, the oil should be removed immediately to prevent deaths that it would cause. Such policies help to protect marine animals and plants. Pollutions on the seas can also occur indirectly through the release of fumes into the air, which ends up causing acid rain. Fumes containing nitrogen oxides react in the atmosphere to form sulphuric and nitric acid. The acids fall like rain into the oceans. Volcanic eruptions, fossil fuels, and rotting vegetation may also contain nitrogen oxides that contribute to acid rains. Acid rains make ocean water acid hence polluting the water. Acid water destroys aquatic life that cannot survive in acidic conditions. The effect implies that we should also concentrate on other indirect pollutants that contribute to ocean pollutions elsewhere. In general, anything pollutant should be managed if safety to the seas is to be achieved.
Recently, many nations are practicing scientific procedures that use radioactivity materials. The processes take place in industries, processing plants, power stations, and in the military. If any radioactive material from the areas mentioned above enters the ocean through planktons, and in the process of the food chain, every other aquatic life will be affected by dangerous pollutants. The pollutants contaminate plants and animals in the water. Environmental health organizations are fighting for the control of radioactive materials, which pollutes the seas through the legislature and other means in an attempt to save oceans from the effects of pollution.
Apart from substance pollutants, noise is also part of ocean pollutants. Human activities like passing ships, oil explorations, seismic surveys, and other noise affect sea life by causing disturbance and interference of species living in the water. It would be essential if there could be a way to undertake such activities without disturbing the aquatic life. Regulations should also be made on the frequency and intensity of noise in the seas to reduce noise pollution in the waters. In the recent past, plastics have accumulated in oceans rapidly. Plastic bags, straws, plastic cutlery, and others find their way into the sea due to irresponsible dumping. It is estimated that there are almost a million tones of a mass of plastics in the sea. Plastic materials contain a chemical substance that contaminates seawater. Plastics also can suffocate or ingest marine fauna. Synthetic material can be recycled to avoid polluting the seas or dumped appropriately. There are laws governing plastic materials, which include a ban on their use or commitment of its manufacturers to ensure that they do not pollute the environment.
In conclusion, ocean health is under a significant threat from the different kinds of pollution that have been discussed in this paper. There are several dead zones identified in oceans that have a deficient concentration of oxygen, high acidity, and chemical content, where none of the ocean animals and plants survive (Laws, 2017). Pollutants have been identified together with their adverse effects on the sea. The most affected phenomena are sea life. The outside environment is also affected indirectly by pollution. Recommendations of respective pollutants discussed have been provided.
In summary, they include legislative actions to prevent such pollutions from occurring, finding alternatives to the activities that contribute to ocean pollution. Treatments of various pollutants are also pollution to the pollution tragedy. Some strategies have been put in place by organizations, governments, and legal legislations regarding contaminants, as discussed in this paper. Through equal responsibility and reinforcement of anti-ocean pollution measures, ocean pollution can be largely controlled.
Haward, M. (2018). Plastic pollution of the world's seas and oceans as a contemporary challenge in ocean governance. Nature communications, 9(1), 667. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-03104-3
Laws, E. A. (2017). Aquatic pollution: an introductory text. John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=V5D2DQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP15&dq=Laws,+E.+A.+(2017).+Aquatic+pollution:+an+introductory+text.+John+Wiley+%26+Sons.&ots=Ls16U5DnuI&sig=F3QSpF2JbNZPNBHw2onyGgu9d6Y
Tuna, T. C. T. (2019). Ocean Pollution Success Stories. Aquaculture. Retrieved from https://www.aquablog.ca/2015/03/ocean-pollution-success-stories/
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