Pollution in the ocean is a major problem that is affecting the ocean and the rest of the Earth, too. Pollution in the ocean directly affects ocean organisms and indirectly affects human health and resources. Oil spills, toxic wastes, and dumping of other harmful materials are all major sources of pollution in the ocean. People should learn more about these because if people know more about pollution in the ocean, then they will know more about how to stop pollution.
What are toxic wastes?
Toxic wastes are poisonous materials that are being dumped into the ocean. They harm many plants and animals in the ocean and have a huge impact on our health. Toxic waste is the most harmful form of pollution to sea life and humans. When toxic waste harms an organism, it can quickly be passed along the food chain and may eventually end up being our seafood. In the food chain, one toxic organism gets eaten by another, larger animal, which gets eaten by another animal, and can end up being our seafood. Toxic waste gets into seas and oceans by the leaking of landfills, dumps, mines, and farms. Farm chemicals and heavy metals from factories can have a very harmful effect on marine life and humans.
Many fishermen believe that the toxic chemicals in the ocean are killing much of the fish population. One of the most harmful chemicals in the ocean is lead. Lead can cause many health problems. It can damage the brain, kidneys, and reproductive system. Lead can also cause birth defects for people. It has been shown to cause low IQ scores, slow growth, and hearing problems for small children. House and car paint and manufacturing lead batteries, fishing lures, certain parts of bullets, some ceramic ware, water pipes, and fixtures all give off lead.
Many things found in the ocean may cause seafood to be dangerous to human health. The effect on humans from contaminated seafood may include birth defects and nervous system damage. Medical waste found in the ocean is being tested to see if swimmers have a chance of developing Hepatitis or AIDS. Other waste has been known to cause viral and bacterial diseases. This type of pollution can be stopped by watching what pollution we are letting into the ocean. People are trying to decrease the amount of waste in the oceans by recycling as much garbage as they can so there is a smaller amount of very harmful materials in the ocean.
Boating Pollution Prevention Tips
Whenever someone takes their boat onto the water for a ride, it is creating pollution that can be very harmful to the sea life. Boating pollution is the pollution that comes from the boatís engine when it is running, and it pollutes the water, killing animals with the chemicals in the exhaust from the engine. The engine gives off excess gasoline, which pollutes the waters and ends up killing the animals. In order to make as little pollution as possible, what everyone can do to help is:
Garbage dumping is the dumping of harmful materials into the ocean like human waste, ground-up garbage, water from bathing, and plastics. Most of the waste that has been dumped into the ocean in the early 1990ís is still there today. One main cause of garbage dumping occurs when sewage pipes share their space with storm water drains. Rainfall causes the sewage pipes to overflow and the sewage waste mixes with the storm water drain, which flows into another water source such as a lake or river. After that, the garbage pollutes the ocean, kills plants and animals in the water (for example, the plastic rings that are around pop cans can get around an animalís neck, causing it to suffocate), and makes the water dirty.
Wastewater is a disposal problem that needs to be taken care of. Wastewater is run-off from rainwater and usually ends up in rivers, lakes, and oceans. In order to reduce the amount of wastewater, we need to make sure that the water that ends up in the ocean is clean. We can do this by watching how much pollution we put into the ocean. Whenever even a small amount of pollution gets into the ocean, it damages the environment. A lot of people donít realize that this same pollution is going into the ocean every day and all the small amounts add up to a major problem. To decrease the threat to public health, safety, and the environment, we need to watch how much wastewater we produce.
Other Sources of Pollution
Pollution causes a lot of plant and animal deaths in the ocean. In addition to boat pollution, other things that cause water pollution are agriculture (like pesticide run-off), land clearing, and people that pollute the environment without thinking about what harm it can do to animals and humans.
How are cars polluting the oceans?
Cars pollute the ocean a lot. Whenever a car gets driven, you may have noticed a lot of smoke that is coming out from the back of the car. This smoke doesnít go directly into the ocean. It ends up being in acid rain. Acid rain is pollution mixed with regular rain, and when acid rain gets into the ocean, it pollutes the waters and kills many fish over a period of time. Cars are big pollution source. If pollution from cars cannot be stopped or at least cut down, then pretty soon the amount of fish and other creatures in the ocean will decrease.
How is agriculture polluting the oceans?
Chemical pesticides, chemical substances used to kill harmful animals or insects, and fertilizers, chemical or natural substances put on the land to make crops grow better, are another source of pollution. When it rains, the pesticides and fertilizers get taken off of the plants and end up in our oceans, killing ocean plants and animals. They are used by animal and agricultural farms, plantations, industries (especially illegal ones), and believe it or not, our very own gardens. A way to decrease the amount of pesticides and fertilizers polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans is by watching the amount of pesticide spray that you put on the plants in your garden. You can also buy organic products, which are grown with only natural pesticides and fertilizers.
Chemical detergents, batteries, plastics, and sewage are all produced by homes and everyday human activity. Every day humans create and use these things, and every day, people are creating a risk to the plants and animals that live in the oceans and lakes by doing things like driving without carpooling and making sure batteries are not leaking. Some ways that you can protect the oceans are by recycling plastics, disposing of batteries properly, using rechargeable batteries instead of regular batteries, using less water, carpooling, and recycling.
The Ocean Zones
From the shiny, clear sunlight zone to the dark, murky midnight zone, lie facts about the three different zones of the ocean. Even though the very bottom zone is about ninety percent of the ocean, more than ninety percent of the oceanís sea life lives in the top zone, which is why it is important that we do not pollute our oceans.
The sunlight zone is also called the Euphotic Zone. This zone is the top zone, and it is also the smallest. The sunlight zone is only about 600 feet deep, but ninety percent of the oceanís sea life lives in the sunlight zone. This zone is home to a wide variety of marine life because plants can grow here. Plants can grow here because sunlight can get to the plants in this zone, so the plants can do photosynthesis and grow. Also, the water temperature is warmer than any other zone in the ocean. The sunlight can reach this zone and warm the ocean water, so it is warm enough for fish and other sea life. Sharks, tunas, mackerels, jellyfish, sea turtles, sea lions, seals, and stingrays are a few of the animals that live in the sunlight zone.
Pollution is major problem in the sunlight zone. The main kind of pollution that occurs in this zone is oil pollution. The two main causes of oil pollution in the ocean are big ships leaking oil or ships carrying oil crashing into things in the ocean.
Global warming is affecting many different parts of the ocean as well. It is causing the water to rise, and when it rises, it covers things such as low land islands with plants, animals, and even some peopleís homes on them. This can hurt animals in the different layers of the ocean.
One other way ocean layers are affected by global warming is that warm water, caused by global warming, is hurting and even killing algae which is what some fish in the sunlight zone eat. These fish would die because all of their food would be gone. When the fish die, it is a break in our food chain, which would lead to a big problem for all of the animals that rely on the algae-eating fish for their food.
The twilight zone is also called the Disphotic Zone. In depth, the twilight zone is about 2,400 feet, making it the second largest zone. As the water becomes deeper, the water pressure becomes higher. Almost no sunlight can reach this zone. Therefore, very few plants can grow here. The only animals that can live here are those that can adapt to very little sunlight, really cold temperatures, and very high pressure. The few animals that can live in the twilight zone are lantern fish, rattalk fish, hatchet fish, viperfish, mid-water jellyfish, octopus, and squid.
Many animals that live in the twilight zone have bodies that protect them from predators. The viperfish and the ratchet fish have fangs so they can easily protect themselves and help them eat their prey. Other fish are so thin that when a predator looks at them, they do not even see them! Some fish are colored red and black to blend in with their surroundings.
Some squid and fish can use their bodies to make light with special organs in their bodies called photophores. These photophores give off a greenish colored light, which helps them see. Most fish in this zone donít chase their prey. They wait for their pray to swim by. Then they snatch their prey and eat it.
Some of the pollution that causes problems for the amazing creatures of the twilight zone are metals and toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals settle in the sea, and eventually some of the fish eat these chemicals. Other fish eat these fish that ate the chemicals, and these fish, too, will eventually die because they are putting toxic pollution into their bodies.
The midnight zone is also called the Aphhotic Zone. Ninety percent of the ocean is the midnight zone. This zone happens to be the bottom zone, so it is completely dark. Very few creatures in the ocean live in the midnight zone because the water pressure is extreme and it is near freezing down that far.
Some of the very few creatures that live down in this zone are angler fish, tripod fish, sea cucumbers, snipe eels, opossum shrimp, black swallowers, and the vampire squids.
Because of the lack of plants at this depth, all of the creatures in this zone are predators. They survive by consuming bacteria which grows from the mineral-rich materials and hydrogen sulfide that are given off by underwater cracks in the earthís crust. Since there is no light down in this zone, some fish do not even have eyes.
One problem caused by pollution that occurs in the midnight zone is called anoxic water. This means that there is no or hardily any dissolved oxygen in the water. When there is no dissolved oxygen, fish and other creatures canít breathe, and they will quickly die from a lack of oxygen. Some of the creatures that live at this depth might die or migrate to other parts of the ocean. If they do migrate, there is a possibility that there could become a problem in the food chain.
It is very important that we address the issues that affect the ocean. Ninety percent of sea creatures live in the sunlight zone, which is the zone that is most affected by global warming and oil pollution. We must stop these problems because if we donít, we will hurt and maybe even kill our sea life.
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