Global warming has been a looming issue, and it's getting larger by the day, with consequences for the nature all around us. One of the major concerns that environmentalists have been raising their voice for is the health of the ocean.
We all know that 75% of our Earth is covered with water, where 70% attributed to the world's oceans alone. The increase in greenhouse emissions and CO2 in the atmosphere has been a major contributor to pollution in our oceans.
Why are oceans so important to humans?
You might wonder why oceans, which are full of saltwater, are such an important resource to humans. While its salt content means the ocean water as such may not be a good option for our agriculture and drinking purposes, they still play an important role in our climatic conditions.
Consider these key ocean facts:
- Marine plants produce nearly 70% of the oxygen that we breathe
- 97% of the water that we use for our consumption is from the ocean, as they contribute to the rain and now with desalination as well.
- Oceans absorb nearly 30% of the CO2 emissions from humans every day.
Clearly, oceans are a critical part of our ecosystem to survive and sustain.
What causes ocean pollution?
There is no debate that human activity on land is threatening the oceans and the world's marine population. There have been a lot of changes in the ecosystems of the oceans and oceanic circulations in recent years owing to these land-based activities, which constitute nearly 80% of the reason for ocean pollution.
How are humans directly harming the ocean?
- The use of pesticides and other chemicals in agriculture ends up in the water bodies.
- Sewage and other factory wastes are let into the freshwater, which further mixes up with the ocean. These runoff sediments can easily smother corals and marine life.
- Oil spills from ships and platforms form a major cause of ocean pollution. They are devastating to marine life.
- Global warming due to the increased pollution of land and deforestation affects ocean composition.
- Pollution of air over water bodies and coastal areas causes tremendous harm. Rainwater has become a major carrier of CO2 thanks to atmospheric pollutants, and it is turning the ocean water more acidic every day.
- Imbalance in the marine ecology owing to the introduction of poisonous plants, animals, and algae into the oceanic waters.
- Overfishing and lack of marine reserves to preserve marine life.
- When litter like plastic enters the ocean waters, it is stranded in time without decomposing and can endanger marine life. Plastic fishing nets leftover in the ocean have the potential to restrict and harm life in the marine environment.
- Deep-sea mining, which leaves deposits of sulfides, and the corrosion of mining equipment significantly compound the problem.
And there are more.
Before we delve into how ocean cleanup can be done effectively, let's take a look at the possible consequences we face if we do not take immediate measures.
Threats from ocean pollution
- Rising sea levels can be a threat to the population along the coastal regions.
- Depletion of oxygen in the ocean water causes the death of marine life.
- Seashore littering is harmful to human life and recreational activities along with its effects on sea life.
- Many of the chemicals in the sea are consumed by organisms and marine life, which then reaches us through the food chain, causing serious health problems such as reproductive, hormonal, kidney, and nervous system issues.
- Ocean pollution can easily reach the beach and cause allergic reactions to humans who spend their time there.
- Bacteria that are absorbed by sea life in such toxic waters when consumed by us can contribute to heart disease, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and other ailments.
From providing sustenance to driving our economy, the ocean has plenty to offer in every aspect of our lives. It is our duty to protect our oceans and to keep them clean as we need them for our survival.
What can we do?
There are already organizations involved in removing the debris from oceans and cleaning up the seas all over the world. However, there are a few small actions that we ourselves can take now to keep our oceans clean:
- Avoid plastics as much as you can and avoid throwing them at sea or any water bodies.
- Avoid products that can cause harm to marine life.
- Reduce your consumption of energy and carbon footprint.
- Choose chemical-free options for agriculture.
- Do not let rubbish, waste, and other factory products enter the ocean.
- Teach the next generation about the importance of oceanic life.
By making simple changes in our lifestyle, we can easily conserve water and preserve our oceans.