The oceans and seas cover about 70% of the earth. It is a home to many marine wildlife species. The lives of which are now threatened by man made pollution in seas. Ocean Pollution is the spread of harmful and toxic substances– plastic, oil spillages, industrial and agricultural wastes into the ocean body. It causing many sea species to go extinct. They are rapidly loosing their habitat and genetic variation. About 2.5 million tons of insecticides, and pesticides are being used every year. It has lead to the deviation of coral reefs and the extinction of kelp.
These pollutants have alarming impacts on marine lives, which we would address in this article.
Causes of ocean Pollution and it’s effects on marine life.
1. Oil spills
Oil spills are one of the major causes of ocean and sea pollution. Crude oil is difficult to clean up and last years in the sea. It is very toxic to ocean and sea animals.
Effects: The oil spilled into the oceans is very harmful to marine life. It could get into their gills and affect their movement. In the long run, it could cause a failure in their reproductive system, cancer and death. The oil spilled into the water prevents sunlight from reaching the marine plants, affecting photosynthesis, causing liver and lungs problems for marine life
2. Fertilizers and other chemicals– pesticides, fungicides and insecticides
When water infiltrates the soil the excess runs off from land into the ocean. Harmful substances like fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides also run off along with the water from land into the sea.
Effects: The chemicals decompose, causing growth of algae that suck up the oxygen in the water, causing marine life to suffocate and eventually die off. Fertilizers are detrimental to marine life because it causes dead zones.
Sewage and other sea and ocean pollutants, flow through drainage, sometimes minerals from mining camps flow alongside them into the ocean.
Effects: this highly affects the ocean biodiversity, the release of the chemical nutrients into the ocean causes a decline in the ocean’s oxygen level, causing a decay in plant life and in the quality of the sea water. When the oxygen level of the sea decreases, it has hazardous impacts on sea animals who need oxygen to survive.
4. Chemicals from industries
This is another common cause of ocean pollution. Chemicals from factories and industrial zones are being discharged into the ocean body
Effects: When industrial and agricultural wastes also known as thermal pollutants are discharged into the ocean, they raise the temperature of the ocean, causing animals and plants who cannot survive at a higher temperature to die off.
5. Plastic Littering
Tons of plastic is being dumped into the ocean every year. Animals often mistake it for food.
Effects: when plastic is ingested by animals, it could sometimes suffocate then and most time kill them slowly.
Ways to Reduce Ocean Pollution
1. Recycle properly.
Buy ecofriendly products and recycle them properly. The are different ways different materials can be recycled. Recycling is important in the conservation of natural resources. Make sure you recycle each item properly– be it glass, nylon, plastic. You could put them in a recycle bin to dispose them properly.
2. Pick up trash on the beach
When you spot trash on the beach, pick it up most times plastic is often mistaken for food by birds and fishes. You could save a lot of sea animals. Most times the trash on the beach is carried into the water by waves.
3. Use reusable bottles
Large quantities of plastic bottles are being dumped in our oceans every year. When plastic is ingested by birds and fishes, it has very bad consequences. It could suffocate them.
5. Reduce fertilizer use
Millions of tons of fertilizers are being used every year. Fertilizers are harmful contaminants to the ocean. And these fertilizers are picked up when water runs off from land into the ocean. When fertilizers decompose, they suck up the oxygen from the water causing marine life to either flee or die off.
6. Stop the use of disposable plastic utensils
We all know the consequence of plastic in the ocean. About 6 million non durable plastics are disposed every year. Last year, France became the first country to ban the use of disposable utensils. Plastics are hard to decompose, instead of decomposing, they break into tiny bit which are the consumed by sea animals as food.
7. Reduce energy use.
Carbon-dioxide and fossil fuels are making our oceans acidic. This reduces the oxygen level of the seas and ocean. One of the biggest impacts is the loss of coral reefs. How do you reduce energy use?
Bike, use public transport, walk – by not fueling your car everyday you are saving marine lives. Use standard machinery in your home, use fluorescent light bulbs.
8. Avoid using products that contains microbeads
Microbeads are tiny plastic particles. They are found in toothpastes, scrubs, and body washes. They are now being found in the ocean and consumed by ocean wildlife. Avoid using them. Check the contents of the toothpastes or body scrubs you buy. When you uses them, they run off your sinks through drainages and into the ocean.
9. Keep your water clean
Your sink is channels to the sea. Don’t allow waste to go through your sink. Filter through your sink.
In conclusion, millions of marine lives are killed ever year by ocean pollution and their habits destroyed. Some species have even been driven towards extinction. All the effects of these pollutants are hazardous to marine life and the truth is, ocean pollution occurs at different levels. but as individuals we can play our part and help reduce it, changing simple habits can save marine lives.