In a word, marine pollution can be described as a combination of chemicals and trash which comes from land sources and is washed or blown into the ocean. This pollution causes bad impacts on the environment and the health of all of the organisms. It is mainly human activities that are responsible for this kind of pollution.
There are many reasons for marine pollution. The pollution varies depending upon the location of the coastal region. Marine pollution occurs when waste from human activities increases the rate of concentration of an ingredient ocean water, sediments, or an organism above the background level for that area or animal, but without (immediate) obvious effect.
2.1 Nutrient Pollution
This type of pollution occurs due to human activities, the increase of the use of fertilizer, lead to the runoff of chemicals into waterways that ultimately flow into the ocean. These chemicals make the water toxic which is harmful to wildlife and human health.
2.2 Plastic Debris
Most of the manufactured products that marine trash encompasses are plastic materials. Littering, storm winds, and poor waste management all are accumulated to this debris, 80 percent of which comes from sources on land. Plastic is a kind of synthetic material which is produced from petroleum. Plastic is a long-lasting pollutant material that can take hundreds of years to decompose.
2.3 Radioactive Materials
Recently radioactive substances have been found from coastal water. This occurs due to radioactivity which is released by human activities such as oil exploration, combustion, phosphate production, and use, land-based mining, and medical diagnosis. Radioactive waste accumulates in the ocean from nuclear weapon testing and the resulting atmospheric fallout, the releasing or dumping of wastes from nuclear fuel cycle systems, and nuclear accidents.
2.4 Oil and Offshore Installation
Oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons and non hydrocarbon like sulfur, vanadium, and metals. Maximum oil exploration occurs because of shipping. Oil kills many organisms that live in the sea-water. The offshore installation creates underwater noise and light emission which is harmful to organisms.
3. Impact on Wildlife
The pollutants that create marine pollution poses danger to both humans and animals. Among these pollutants, plastic debris is one of them. Most of the marine trashes is plastic debris. Fishes get tangled and injured into the plastic materials. Some animals eat plastic items as a source of food. Also, some organisms take tiny bits of broken-down plastic which is known as microplastic. Therefore, the chemicals from the plastic get absorbed into their cells. Besides large animals take small organisms as food items. When they consume the organisms that have toxic chemicals, the chemicals get into their cells too. This is how the marine ecosystem gets affected by these pollutants. If human consumes fishes that have toxic chemicals. It will create harmful effects on human health. So, It can be said that marine pollution creates a bad impact on wildlife.
Plastics are used abundantly in our society. Reducing the use of plastic is a challenging issue. There are many types of debris that do not float in the ocean, they are lost in the deep ocean. Plastic materials are one of the reasons for causing death to ocean animals and organisms. The ecosystem of an ocean is greatly affected by oil. The ocean is not only affected by solid waste, trash, and oil but also the dumping of radioactive waste from nuclear reactors and industrial’s heavy metal and acid are heavy pollutant for the ocean. Offshore activities like installation, transfer of material, etc. are the reasons for marine pollution. The oil and gas leaked or drained into the water may change the properties of water and also may affect marine life.
Prevention and cleanup are needed to reduce marine pollution. Reviewing the marine pollution following conclusions are drawn.
- Plastic is one of the major threats to marine pollution. It doesn’t degrade. It floats into the deep ocean and affected the ocean ecosystem.
- Nutrient pollutants such as human waste, fertilizer, etc. are emitted toxic chemicals. Eating these chemicals many animals die. It hampers the biodiversity of the ocean.
- Waves and wind move the oil into the shore. Oil reaches the shoreline of the ocean and interacts with the beach sand, gravels, and rocks. Therefore, it creates contamination as well as erosion which is harmful to both humans and wildlife. • A few laws have formed already. But people’s awareness is the main focus of this matter. We all should aware of the pollution not only our self but also the people.
- We can’t stop the pollution in one or two days. Prevention is a vital part of reducing marine pollution. Basal changes are required at all levels of the society.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the members of Team Probritto for their magnificent guidance and great kindness to me.
• Vikas M.A & G.S. Dwarakishb, “Coastal Pollution: A Review”. In proceedings of the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WATER RESOURCES, COASTAL AND OCEAN ENGINEERING (ICWRCOE 2015)
• Brubaker, D. (1993). “Marine Pollution and international law: principles and practice, Belhaven”, ISBN 1-85293273-2, London
• José G.B Derraik (September 2002). “The pollution of the marine environment by plastic debris: a review”, Ecology and Health Research Centre, Department of Public Health, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, P.O. Box 7343, Wellington, New Zealand
Md. Ayman Azad
Content Writer Probritto