A home to various animals such as dolphins, sharks, whales, turtles and fish; there is the danger of some of these and others becoming extinct due to man’s activities especially pollution of the ocean. Among those in the list of endangered animals are blue whales, great white shark, dolphins and bluefin tuna. Statistics available reinforce the importance of protecting the five oceans from pollution. It is estimated that the oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface and that 97 percent of the Earth’s water supply is contained in the ocean.
In an article entitled ‘Ocean Pollution,’ Maya Pillai writes that ocean pollution is one of the major pollution problems that are faced by the nations of the world. He states, “The oceans of the world are becoming polluted and some of the marine lives have been listed as endangered species. When an ocean is polluted, the marine life is directly affected and this indirectly affects the human beings.”
The major causes of ocean pollution are oil spills, toxic wastes and garbage dumping.
Oil pollution is caused by oil spilling from cargo ships and leaking of oil from ships. According to Maya Pillai, around seven million of gallons of oil are accidentally spilled into the oceans of the world, every year. Savethesea, in an article ‘Interesting Ocean Facts’ it states, “Over the past decade, an average of 600,000 barrels of oil a year has been accidentally spilled from ships, the equivalent of 12 disasters the size of the sinking of the oil tanker prestige in 2002.” Oil pollution could lead to clogging up of the gills of fishes and block marine plants from absorbing sunlight in order for the process of photosynthesis to take place.
Toxic waters another ocean pollutant are chemicals that are poisonous. These wastes not only affect marine life but indirectly has consequences on human life and animals that depend on sea food. Toxic wastes are normally dumped into oceans by industries and mines. When the fish are caught and consumed by humans it might lead to food poisoning.
Garbage dumping is another major cause of ocean pollution. The garbage normally dumped are human waste, sewage and plastics. This leads to depletion of oxygen in the ocean. The consequence is death of the sea animals such as dolphins, whales and sharks. According to Cindy Clendenon, in her article ‘Pollution of the Ocean by Sewage, Nutrients and Chemicals,’ she writes that human sewage consist of excrement from toilet flushing; wastewater from bathing, laundry, and dishwashing; and animal and vegetable matter from food preparation that is disposed through an in-sink garbage disposal. She notes the consequence of human sewage can be devastating. “Sewage if particularly treated or untreated, brings high microbe concentrations into the ocean. Human diseases can be caused by waterborne pathogens that contact the skin or eyes; waterborne pathogens that are accidentally digested when water is swallowed, or foodborne pathogens found in the tissues of fish and shellfish consumed as food.”