The ocean covers over 70% of the entire planet, making it the earth’s biggest and most valuable resource. It is a habitat to countless sea life creatures, including plants, mammals, fish, and all sorts of creatures we are yet to discover. Due to its large size, it’s easy to think that a little bit of plastic that reaches the ocean, really won’t have such an adverse effect as we may think. Thinking about it, if the ocean comprises more than 70% of the earth, it seems impossible.
However, it’s not only plastic that affects the ocean. It gets affected by far more materials than just the obvious, which is highlighted everywhere we look. Yes, plastic is bad for the ocean, but what about the cigarette buds, metals, rubber, and even glass that makes it to the ocean and into the bodies of sea creatures. What about the fossil fuels in the air that directly affects the ocean or the toxic chemicals that run off into it?
4 Major Causes of Ocean Pollution that Endangers Sea Life
- Ocean acidification – A process that occurs when fossil fuels get burned and pollute the air and ocean. Today, a quarter of all carbon emissions gets absorbed by the ocean, which as one can imagine, has a terrible effect on all sea life, causing a lot of it to die. Since it changes the pH levels of all surface water, it causes acidification, which is continuing to get worse as it is acidifying faster than it has in 300 million years.
- Trash – Where does your garbage go? Not just the recyclable garbage, which we know we’re still not doing a great enough effort to ensure it gets recycled, but absolutely everything. There are more than eight million metric tons of biodegradable plastic items in the ocean, which entangles marine life, kills them, as well as pollutes beaches all around the globe. Up to 80% of rubbish makes its way to the ocean from land-based sources through drains, storms, sewers, as well as from beaches to the water.
- Artificial noise – Considering that the ocean is a silent world, the presence of sound waves has an incredibly negative effect on marine mammals. Since most sea creatures rely on sound to make their way through the ocean and communicate with each other, human-generated ocean noise can alter the entire underwater acoustic landscape, which harms and kills species globally. Ocean noise is usually caused by seismic testing, and utterly tortures marine life, which is something that needs to be stopped to protect the harmonic lives and safety of all sea life.
- Offshore drilling – If you’ve ever seen penguins, dolphins, or seals being rescued due to being covered in oil, then you know that sea mammals and sea creatures can’t swim when they are covered in oil. Today, the oil and gas industry is responsible for the emissions of toxic products and greenhouse gasses into the ocean, as well as thousands of oil spills that cause irreversible damage to marine ecosystems, causing pollution to increase and the ocean’s water quality to decrease.
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