Pollution can be seen in relation to many aspects of the environment. Water, air and land pollution are three instances of pollution that are being discussed heavily in global environmental forums. However, it is felt that people and organizations alike tend to consider ocean pollution only when a major oil spillage takes place in the ocean. Nevertheless, environmentalists warn that ocean pollution is an ongoing disaster and oil spillages are just one out of many causes for ocean pollution. Furthermore, environmentalists also warn that ocean pollution would not only affect its marine life but would also affect all humans, either directly or indirectly, if the factors causing ocean pollution are allowed to continue.
Untreated sewage dumping
One of the main reasons for ongoing ocean pollution is the continuous dumping of untreated sewage water into the sea. Although most of the developed cities are fast adapting effective treatment strategies for sewage waste in order to make it environmentally friendly before being dumped, many cities around the world continue to dump untreated or partially treated sewage, into the seas. Such sewage dumps may cause the growth of algae and various types of bacteria in the seawater. Given the aggressive growth of such bacteria and algae, the oxygen content in the coastal waters could rapidly deplete and therefore would make it difficult for other marine animals, organisms and corals to obtain the necessary oxygen and other important elements from the seawater to sustain life. This can lead to catastrophic results over time, and even at present, large areas known as “dead zones” have formed in various places as a direct result of dumping untreated and toxic wastes into the seas. However, it is not only the cities that are culpable of making the seas polluted by dumping sewage, but also the seagoing ships are dumping large quantities of sewage, mostly untreated, into the seas.
Dumping of toxic and solid wastes
Dumping toxic and solid wastes into the sea is another worrisome aspect for those who fight against ocean pollution. Although unknown to many, dumping of such wastes into the seas has been a practice adopted by many countries for many decades. However, although such practices have died down in the recent past, no one can guarantee that such dumping does not take place in some corner in the world even at present. Although all types of waste dumped into the sea can be dangerous to its marine life, the toxic and radioactive industrial waste dumped into the sea may be the most dangerous. Even at present, many industries dump their chemical waste products into the sea without undertaking proper waste treatment procedures. In addition, run-off wastes such as pesticides and toxic chemicals from farms and industrial sites can also pollute the seas to a certain extent. It is a fact that such wastes would enter the food chains of marine animals and ultimately would end up in humans as they eat fish and other seafood contaminated with such toxic and chemical wastes.
Oil spills and oil waste
As discussed earlier, oil spills would be the most notable of the causes that pollute the seas. It was evident from the past oil spill experiences that once such a spill takes place, it can affect a vast area in the sea and may even spread thousands of miles away from the actual accident site. Such layers of oil would suffocate the animals who inhale the oil-laden water, as well as the marine plants and algae that rely on sunlight for their food production. At the same time, an animal would severely be restricted in its movements when it is covered in oil, which leads to its slow death. However, it is not only the oil spills that would cause oil-related sea pollution, but also the seagoing ships, industries and even households contribute by dumping a certain amount of oil into the sewage, which will ultimately find its way into the sea.
Given these facts, it becomes apparent that governments worldwide should take action regarding stopping instances of ocean pollution through tougher regulations, laws and monitoring. Unless the world awakes to the ongoing ocean pollution and people act together to battle against such activities, it may not be long before humans feel the direct impact of ocean pollution.