What is Marine Pollution?
Marine pollution is defined as introducing harmful substances such as oil, plastic, industrial and agricultural waste, and chemical particles into the ocean, which results in the deterioration of marine life. Excessive human activities over the last few decades have severely affected marine life. Marine pollution is also known as ocean pollution.
What are the Causes of Marine Pollution?
Some of the major causes of marine pollution are as follows:
After heavy rainfall, water gets infiltrated. Excess water flows overland into the ocean. This runoff picks harmful contaminants, including fertilizers, pesticides, petroleum, oils, and human waste, resulting in marine pollution.
Various industries and manufacturing plants discharge toxic waste into the ocean, including mercury, resulting in ocean pollution. Discharge of untreated sewage water also contributes to marine pollution.
Ships are major contributors to marine pollution, especially when crude oil spills occur. Crude oil is highly toxic to marine life, and it stays in the sea for years. Cleaning up the oil spills is also extremely difficult.
Deep-sea ocean mining for substances such as cobalt, zinc, silver, gold, and copper pollutes and disrupts the deepest levels of the ocean. It also results in the deposition of harmful sulfide on the ocean floor.
What are the Effects of Marine Pollution?
Some of the significant effects of marine pollution:
- Marine pollution depletes the oxygen content of the water, which in turn affects marine animals and plants. Cancer, behavioral changes, failure in the reproductive system are some of the long-term effects on marine life.
- Marine pollution disrupts the cycle of coral reefs as sunlight cannot reach marine plants due to oil and other kinds of waste on the water surface.
- The whole food chain is affected as small marine animals ingest the toxic chemicals.
- Consuming seafood affected by marine pollution indirectly affects humans.
How to Prevent Marine Pollution?
Following are some solutions that can make a difference:
- Minimize the use of chemical fertilizer and encourage people to chose organic farming.
- Minimizing the use of plastic products and taking care of proper disposal of plastic.
- Use reusable bottles and cutlery.
- Organizing social cleanup programs to collect trash from seashores.