The impact of human activities has resulted in pollution of every square mile of Earth's oceans. The pollution of water bodies affects the marine life and humans alike. In the present time, marine life is seriously getting affected by the oil spills, garbage dumping, accumulation of toxic materials and industrial wastes in the ocean. Since oceans are the biggest natural sources of water, taking care of them and the marine life thriving in the water bodies is the responsibility of every human being. Here in this article, we have given information about the causes and effects of ocean pollution.
Causes And Effects Of Marine Pollution
- Accidental and deliberate discharge of crude oil into the ocean by cargo ships is regarded as one of the prime causes of pollution of the water body.
- Dumping of industrial wastes into ocean is another reason for marine pollution. The wastes often contain toxic materials such as mercury, dioxin, PCBs, PAHs and radioactive materials, which contaminate the water of ocean.
- Deposition of sediments from mining leads to ocean pollution.
- Trash washed into the ocean after heavy rain or floods gives rise to marine debris, which pollutes the water body.
- Dumping of human wastes, plastic and disposal of untreated or partially treated sewage water into the ocean is called 'garbage dumping'. This is one of the leading causes of marine pollution.
- Carbon dioxide, emitted by automobiles, due to the burning of fossil fuels, leads to air pollution. The contaminated air containing carbon dioxide reaches the ocean in the form of acid rain, thereby polluting the water.
- Oil spilling is hazardous for the marine life. It seriously affects the life cycle of coral reefs thriving in the ocean. The oil spilled in the ocean could clog up the gills of fishes, thereby preventing respiration. It affects the process of photosynthesis of marine plants, since it blocks the sunlight.
- Toxic wastes have direct effect on marine life and affect the human beings indirectly. When the harmful toxic wastes are dumped into the ocean, the fishes could consume the poisonous chemicals. When the fish is eaten by humans, this could lead to food poisoning.
- Dumping of garbage into ocean can deplete the oxygen dissolved in water. As a result, the health of marine life is affected seriously. Due to lack of oxygen, the sea animals including whales, seals, herrings, dolphins, penguins and sharks could perish.
- Carbon dioxide is hazardous for marine life including coral reefs and free-swimming algae.
- Plastics dumped into ocean can affect the marine life seriously. Plastic items such as bottles and bags could choke and suffocate the sea animals, as they eat them thinking that they are food. Plastics are known to be a major cause for the death of turtles, as they swallow the floating bags, mistaking them for jelly fish.
- Dumping of industrial wastes such as pesticides, especially DDT, can accumulate in the fatty tissue of animals. This could lead to the failure in the reproductive system of mammals and birds.