- 10 Facts About Ocean Pollution
Plastic is the most common element that is found in the ocean. It is harmful for the environment as it does not get break down easily and is often considered as food by marine animals.
The biggest source of pollution in the ocean is directly from land-based sources, such as oil, dirt, septic tanks, farms, ranches, motor vehicles, among larger sources. Thousands of tons of waste and trash are dumped into the ocean on a daily basis.
There is an island of garbage twice the size of Texas inside the Pacific Ocean: the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California is the largest oceanic garbage site in the entire world. There, the number of floating plastic pieces outnumbers total marine life six to one in the immediate vicinity.
Over one million seabirds are killed by ocean pollution each year. Three hundred thousand dolphins and porpoises die each year as a result of becoming entangled in discarded fishing nets, among other items. One hundred thousand sea mammals are killed in the ocean by pollution each year.
Oil is the fastest source of deterioration to the ocean, being far more harmful than trash and waste. However, only a small percentage of oil (around 12%) dumped in the ocean comes as a result of actual oil spills. Most oil causing harm in the ocean is a result of drainage from land.
Not all sources of contamination in the ocean come from just oil, trash and solid wastes. The dumping of radioactive waste from nuclear reactors, industrial race (such as heavy metals and acids), and drained sewage are also heavy contributors to pollution.
Small animals at the bottom of food chain absorb the chemicals as part of their food. These small animals are then eaten by larger animals that again increases the concentration of chemicals. Animals at the top of hierarchy of food chain have contamination levels millions times higher than the water in which they live.
Until 1970's, the chemicals and garbage was deliberately dumped into the oceans and became as common practice for disposing everything including pesticides and radioactive waste, assuming that it would get dissolved to safe levels.
In several parts of the world including Gulf of Mexico and the Baltic Sea, Eutrophication has created enormous dead zones.
Till today, in many parts of the world, sewage water is discharged in the ocean – untreated or under-treated. This can cause serious effect on marine and human life and can also lead to eutrophication.