Effects of Ocean Pollution
on Marine Life and Humans
Oceans are a magical, diverse, and abundant ecosystem that humans need in order to survive.
That’s how much of the planet’s surface the oceans cover. They also provide over 97% of our water supply. Need more reasons why the oceans are important? 70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced from marine plants. Over the last few decades, though, surplus human activities have severely affected the marine life on the Earth’s oceans.
Marine pollution, commonly known as ocean pollution, is the spreading of harmful substances – oil, plastic, industrial waste – into our oceans. Since the oceans provide a home to a wide variety of marine animals and plants, it is the responsibility of every city to play their part in cleaning the oceans. What we do on land and what we do offshore affects us all.
Oil Spills Are Dangerous
Particularly to marine life. The oil can get into fish’s gills or into seabirds’ feathers. This makes it difficult for the animal to get around, properly feed themselves, and care for their offspring. Long-term effects can cause cancer, reproductive system failures, behavioral changes, and even death to marine animals. Bad spills that float to the surface can prevent sunlight from reaching coral reefs and other marine plants affecting photosynthesis. This also causes skin irritation and lung or liver problems in humans.
Debris in the Ocean
Does not decompose and remains in the ocean for years. As it degrades it uses up oxygen. When this happens, oxygen levels go down and the chances of survival for marine animals like whales, turtles, sharks, dolphins, and penguins also go down. To give you an idea – styrofoam to-go cups take 80 years to degrade, while plastic bottles can take 400 years to fully decompose. In the most polluted places, the amount of plastic debris is six times that of the plankton population.
Chemicals can pollute water supplies
These chemicals do not get dissolved. Instead, they sink to the bottom of the ocean where small fish ingest these chemicals and are then later eaten by larger animals. Eventually, these fish are served to us on a plate. After being ingested, these toxins get deposited into our tissues and can lead to cancer, birth defects, and other long-term health problems. It’s serious business.
From sustenance to natural beauty to economics
the oceans provide plenty for us, so please respect the ocean, the marine life, and yourself by keeping the ocean clean and safe for generations to come.