An arguably equal important problem to Climate Change is known as Ocean Pollution. Over the years, our oceans have slowly become dirtier, with trash and other pollutants thrown in carelessly. It has come to the point where literally miles of “trash belts” drift through the ocean, affecting the wildlife and people alike. Many fail to realize the true importance of our oceans, and as such treat them unfairly. So what exactly is Ocean Pollution? Why is it such a pressing issue? Keep reading to find out.
“Why are the oceans so important?” Is a question I have thought to myself for most of my life. However, after doing the research, I realize that the issue of Ocean Pollution is much more important than many people make it out to be. Our oceans account for nearly 97% of ALL water on Earth. And yes, while it is true that we only drink fresh water, and that doesn’t come from our oceans, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t important What happens when we run out of fresh water? The only option after that is to filter salt water into fresh water, which is still being worked on. Abundant trash and pollution in that salt water is only going to make it harder to filter, and that could cause a huge problem for humanity as a whole. Oceans also account for most of the oxygen produced in our atmosphere. Algae and bacteria contribute 70% of our oxygen. So when trash and other pollutants infect them, they begin to die off. And if 70% of our oxygen disappears, we will surely perish along with them.
Along with this, coastal locations that profit from use of the ocean supply about 500 billion dollars of the the world’s economy. Also, about half of the world’s population lives within the coastal zone, or areas near the coast (http://www.protectplanetocean.org/collections/introduction/introbox/oceans/introduction-item.html).
The ocean also greatly helps the water cycle. When water evaporates into the atmosphere, it helps to produce a great deal of the rainfall we get each year. When the ocean becomes polluted, this rain will too, and the problem will only get worse. These are only 4 of the many, many reasons why we need to protect our oceans, but all we seem to be doing is destroying them.
So what’s the cause of this seemingly huge problem? Well, it actually has to do with pollution on land. According to the National Ocean Service, “Eighty percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from the land” (http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/pollution.html). When pollutants from landfills and oil from cars makes it’s way into the dirt beneath us, and can erode into the ocean.s This heavily pollutes it, and is one of the largest reasons we face the problem of Ocean Pollution today. Water pollution can also come from the pollutants we put into the air. These, over time, can slowly settle into rivers, and oceans, making even fresh water unsafe to drink. “Nonpoint source pollution (small pollutant sources) can make ocean water unsafe for humans and wildlife. In some areas, the pollution is so bad that it causes beaches to be closed after rainstorms” (http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/pollution.html).
The trash we throw away also is a large part in the pollution we send into the ocean. As we know, much of the trash we throw away is made up of plastic. As plastic doesn’t wear out or break down for many years, it ends up just floating around in the ocean. Because plastic can’t be disposed of, it ends up in landfills, or just pushed into the ocean. Fish and other marine animals can mistake this plastic for their food, and die because of it. In fact, many fish served in restaurants have eaten some form of plastic, and in turn, we do too. In fact, there is a belt of trash traveling along the ocean surface that is THE SIZE OF EUROPE. An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash is dumped into the ocean each yer. If you’d like to learn more about the harmful production and disposing of plastic, please watch this video here: http://assets.nationalgeographic.com/modules-video/latest/assets/ngsEmbeddedVideo.html?guid=00000148-9ef7-d4cf-a3de-dff795bf0000.
If we don’t start protection our oceans soon, if we continue to remain careless about how much we waste and where this waste goes, it will surely lead to the end of humans and many other animals who live on this Earth along with us. The time for bystanding is over. We need to change our ways.
If you enjoyed this article, please follow my blog for more posts similar to this. Make sure to look to next weeks post for possible solutions to the huge problem of Ocean Pollution. All information provided in this article is accredited to the links provided down below. And if you care about this problem, I would also highly suggest you check out these links, as educating ourselves on these problems is the best way we can start to work to stop them. Thanks for reading.
The National Ocean Service: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/
All About Plastic Production (Video): http://assets.nationalgeographic.com/modules-video/latest/assets/ngsEmbeddedVideo.html?guid=00000148-9ef7-d4cf-a3de-dff795bf0000
All About Plastic Production (Article): http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150109-oceans-plastic-sea-trash-science-marine-debris/