What are the effects of marine pollution?

It is very difficult to account for all the marine life and schools of fishes found in the ocean due to the size of oceans and the number of organisms found in them. Even though there have been studies and many of these go scientifically unknown and unaccounted for though there has been concentrated studies and researches that have been done in small areas of the ocean along with few test groups.

There are over 46,000 pieces of plastic that are floating in every square mile of the ocean found near the Northeast coast of the United States, as per the journal Review of Research of the Marine Academy’s Oceanography. These plastics end up contributing to the death of 1,00,000 marine mammals and millions of sea birds every year. In a report of New York Times on one Galapagos Island there was a serious drop of a rare species of Iguana from 25,000 to 10,000 due to an oil spill that occurred off the coast of the island in the year 2001.

The president of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, Elliott Norse discovered plastic in the stomachs of 300 Albatross chicks on Midway Island which is 1600 kms away from the nearest land area. There was a massive British petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This was covered by the Center for Biological Diversity for a year. They had made some exceptional observations. They had reported around 82,000 birds of 102 species were either harmed or killed in it. Adding to the death toll were 6,165 sea turtles, 25,900 marine mammals and uncountable number of fishes were there too. By 2010 these statistics reached up to 658 sea birds, 279 sea turtles, 36 sea mammals and countless fishes.

Effects of Marine Pollution

  • Disruption of Coral Reefs
    The oil spill keeps floating on the surface of the water. This thick layer above the surface of the water prevents sunlight from reaching marine flora and fauna. This leads to serious consequences to plant life by cutting down the process of photosynthesis. There are health problems that arise from the prolonged effect of oil spills. These can be seen in the form of skin irritation, eye irritation, lung and liver problems have a worsening impact on the marine life.
  • Reproductive System failure of Marine animals
    Industrial & agricultural wastes have many impurities in them which contains hazardous chemicals that are no lesser than poisons for the marine organisms. The chemicals from the chemical pesticides accumulate in the fat tissues of the animals and disrupt the reproductive system. These substances that accumulate in the organisms stay in them for a really long time.
  • Depletes Oxygen Content of the Ocean
    It has been observed that most of the debris that is deposited in the ocean does not decompose easily and they has a long life cycle and remain in the ocean for years at a stretch. The worst consequence of this debris being in the ocean for so long is as they degenerate, they keep consuming more and more oxygen from the ocean water. This hampers the present oxygen content of the water and reduces the oxygen level to a very petty amount, barely sufficient to maintain the ocean ecology. The reduced levels of oxygen raises a question on the survival of marine animals and mammals like sharks, dolphins, penguins, whales and turtles and the rate of survival is deplorably reduced as well.
  • Effect on Food Chain
    There are numerous chemicals that being used in the agricultural fields and as well as in the industries. These chemicals often get washed away and flow into the rivers. These rivers then carry them to the Oceans in turn. These chemicals are unable to dissolve into the ocean water and remain suspended. Then they slowly sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. These chemicals are then ingested by the many small animals that survive within the ocean environment. Then these small animals are eaten by larger animals and then gradually moving up the food chain these chemicals get bio-accumulated and manifest as serious problems.
  • Effects of Toxic Wastes
    Oil spills causes havoc in the marine environment and gives rise to some serious troubles. The oil spilled in the ocean water gets into the feathers of sea birds and gills of marine animals. This jeopardises with their ability to move or fly properly and handicaps their ability to feed their young ones. The effects of this are evident is diseases like cancer, failure of the reproductive system or can even cause death.
  • Effects on Human Health
    Animals that already under the threat and influence of the chemically influenced food chain are then eaten by the human beings as well. The toxins that are present within these animals are then transferred through the food chain into humans as well. The human beings get contaminated with these toxins as they get deposited in their tissues. These then result to cancer, birth defects or even long term health problems.

Read More:
Marine Pollution: What is the biggest source of pollution in the ocean?
Simple ways of controlling Air pollution
What are the main causes of air pollution? In points
What are the harmful Effects of Air Pollution?

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