With modern efforts set in place to rid the ocean of pollution, every way to do so adds further contaminants to the seas of the world. Dispersants added to oil spills seeking to make the ocean appear clean as well as “protect” the wildlife may be one of the most damaging things that could be done in that situation. Ocean pollution is also derived from plastic waste being thoughtlessly tossed into the seas, out rightly damaging the marine life as well as humans. For efforts that set out to relieve the ocean of pollution, there are sources wherein unfortunately the blame is due to the attempts seeking to expunge the various scourges of the ocean.
With the ocean being such an immense source for the air we breathe, water that we drink, alongside a plethora of other resources it is truly an upsetting prospect that pollution in many forms are being added to it every day. Whether it be intentional or accidental, oil emissions, plastic, and runoffs are among the most damaging and common forms of ocean pollution. Regardless of the form that ocean pollution takes, the effects of such damage are very severe, harming both the life that resides in the depths alongside humanity itself. From an article from (http://www.planetaid.org/blog/how-ocean-pollution-affects-humans) a notable bit of information is “Chemicals such as oil, mercury, lead, pesticides, and other heavy metals can all be found within the ocean and can contaminate water supplies and our food chain by affecting the marine life involved. If humans are exposed to these toxic chemicals for long periods of time, then this can result in dangerous health problems, which include hormonal issues, reproductive issues, and damage to our nervous systems and kidneys.” Although this quote doesn’t focus on the specific ways that wildlife is harmed, it focuses more on the effects of pollution on humans. With the cause obviously being humans for the majority of the pollution being added to the seas, it seems very ironic that it comes around to harm the very creatures that have created this vast scourge. As stated before, with so many resources being taken from the ocean such as water and food, it is incredulous that certain behaviors are committed by any group of people that add pollution, as the results are truly devastating on the health of the ocean, the marine life that reside within, and humans themselves.
Alongside oil emissions from vehicles being added to the ocean or literally dumped into it, plastics are another form of pollution that has been proven to be extremely detrimental to the well being of all three parties involved; the ocean itself, the wildlife, and humans. From an article exclusively dedicated to the causes and effect of plastics that have entered the waters of the ocean discusses how impactful this issue really is on everyone. (https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/plastics.html) Discussing a harmful property of pollution in the ocean, “In fact, not only do the toxins in plastic affect the ocean, but acting like sponges, they soak up other toxins from outside sources before entering the ocean. As these chemicals are ingested by animals in the ocean, this is not good for humans. We as humans ingest contaminated fish and mammals.” This quote provides insight into the issue of the less spoken portion of plastic pollution. When plastic waste is sitting in the ocean, it essentially absorbs the toxins in the water that were pre-existing due to other forms of pollution. Consequently, when marine life eats the tainted plastic they would in turn be contaminated with this odd form of pollution transfer, due to the seepage of the waste that resided in said plastic. With the scale of fishing that people do, the amount of people that are impacted by this is of a serious degree. When the captured marine life are eaten, the transfer that initially started from two forms of pollution will then end up in the individual that consumes it, with the effects described in further detail in the article discussing plastic and its effect on the ocean when discarded so carelessly. With this type of damage being caused by plastic pollution, it is disheartening to realize there are a plethora of ways that plastic harms the ecosystem of the ocean ever further. Aside from the fact that pollutants seep from the plastic were it to absorb any external sources of pollutants, plastic waste in the ocean physically harms animals living within as it is very easy for a creature to mistake a plastic bag, fork, or straw as a food source. Countless sea turtles alone are recorded every year that they suffocate on plastic bags floating in the ocean as they share a resemblance with a key component of their diet, and that being jellyfish. Amongst the many viral videos depicting sea life getting plastic waste stuck in their throats, nasal cavity, or their necks tangled amongst 6-pack plastic bindings, it seems that they spark more motivation for people to band together and try and end this hardship that people and animals have to endure. Although efforts are being made to rid the ocean of all forms of pollution, plastic included, those very attempts also add pollution that very well may impact an individual negatively purely due to the fact that as of now there are little to no ways to safely and effectively clean the ocean with a 100% certainty that no further pollution will be added.
Although plastic and vehicle-emission pollution are very big factors of pollution, shown by the fact that I heavily went over the causes and effects of those topics, the worst form of pollution may very well be from dispersants. Purposefully put into the ocean with good intent surrounding the act, the effects are catastrophic. Put into simpler terms in “Beachipedia” it related this effort to putting dish soap in a sink full of water with oil on the top. Although much smaller scale than the ocean, with less harsh chemicals taking place of the dispersants, it shows what they are meant to do; remove the oil from the water or at the very least break it up in order to make it be easier to break down. However, due to the dispersants being way more harmful than dish soap, it actually harms the ecosystems where it is being used in ways that the model can not demonstrate. By breaking down the oil in real-life scenarios, it makes it easier for the oil to be consumed by wildlife. Not only reaching the biological aspects of things, it also spreads throughout the ocean not just on the surface, furthering the reach of pollution into the depths of the water. An often overlooked group of marine life that can be severely harmed through the use of dispersants are coral reefs, with the use of said chemicals being heavily restricted in those areas according to “The Office of Response and Restoration” . Areas that are OK for the application of dispersants to be used is discussed in an article on their website saying “These are areas far from the reefs, or located where currents would carry the dispersed oil away from the coral.” Even though to the public dispersants seem fine to use, it is odd that there are these rules even though the uneducated view of dispersants is one of a beneficial view, even though this a benefit is something not found while using dispersants. Although not visible, pollution is almost always there when using these chemicals, causing more damage than if the oil was left alone.
With so many causes that lead to such negative effects, it seems imperative that ocean pollution of all forms ceases to exist. Although with modern technology, that goal is not directly feasible, however any attempts still help clean a portion of the majority, although it is not the entirety it surely helps. Although the many reasons for pollution has been discovered, the means by which to stop and get rid of existing pollution is not fully in effect. Were a solution to be founded and put into effect, it seems obvious that the well-being of the ocean, those that reside in it, as well as humanity will benefit greatly not just in form of health, but in the sense that the purity of the ocean will not be as tainted as it is in its present state.
- “Blog.” Lessening the Harmful Environmental Effects of the Clothing Industry – Planet Aid, Inc., www.planetaid.org/blog/how-ocean-pollution-affects-humans.http://www.planetaid.org/blog/how-ocean-pollution-affects-humans
- “Plastics in the Ocean Affecting Human Health.” Examples, 3 Aug. 2018, serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/plastics.html.
- “Beachapedia.” Climate Change – Beachapedia, http://www.beachapedia.org/Dispersants.
- Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, response.restoration.noaa.gov/oil-and-chemical-spills/oil-spills/resources/10-what-are-some-environmental-impacts-dispersants.html