The Atlantic Ocean has historically been a site of active fishing. For many centuries, people have extracted fish and animals from its waters, but the volume was such that it did no harm. Everything changed when there was a dramatic development in technology. Now fishing is far from the first place in the list of environmental problems.
Radiation pollution of waters
A feature of the Atlantic Ocean can be called the ingress of various radioactive substances into the water. This is due to the presence along the coastline of developed states with a powerful energy base. The generation of electricity in 90% of cases is associated with the activities of nuclear power plants, whose waste is dumped directly into the ocean.
In addition, it is the Atlantic that has been chosen by many countries for the disposal of radioactive waste from research institutes and industries. “Utilization” is carried out by flooding in water. Roughly speaking, containers with the most dangerous substances are simply thrown into the ocean. Thus, at the bottom of the Atlantic there are more than 15,000 containers with filling, from which the dosimeter will not fall silent.
The largest cases of waste disposal in the ocean are: the planned sinking of a US vessel with the nerve gas “Sarin” on board and the dumping of 2,500 barrels of poison from Germany into the water.
Radioactive waste is disposed of in sealed containers, however, their depressurization occurs periodically. So, due to the destruction of the protective shell of containers, the ocean floor was contaminated in the area of the states of Maryland and Delaware (USA).
The routes of oil tankers run across the Atlantic Ocean, in addition, coastal states have an oil industry. All this leads to periodic ingress of oil into the water. As a rule, during the normal course of processes, this is impossible, but failures occur regularly in various areas.
The largest oil spill in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans was the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform. The accident resulted in the release of more than five million barrels of oil. The area of pollution turned out to be so large that a cloudy oily spot on the water surface was clearly visible from the Earth’s orbit.
Destruction of underwater flora and fauna
As mentioned above, the Atlantic Ocean has been used for fishing for many centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century, technological progress stepped forward and provided new opportunities for industrial fishing. This has resulted in increased volumes of fish being harvested. In addition, the share of poaching has increased.
In addition to fish, the Atlantic Ocean gives people other creatures, such as whales. Huge mammals came under almost extermination with the invention of the harpoon gun. This device made it possible to shoot a whale with a harpoon from afar, which previously had to be done manually from a dangerously close distance. The consequence of this technology was the increased efficiency of hunting for whales and a sharp decrease in their numbers. Back in the late 19th century, whales in the Atlantic Ocean almost disappeared.
The inhabitants of the ocean depths suffer not only from hunting for them, but also due to artificial changes in the composition of the water. It changes due to the ingress of the same buried radioactive substances, ship exhaust gases and oil. The huge size of the ocean saves the underwater fauna and flora from death, where harmful substances dissolve, causing only local harm. But even in those small areas where toxic emissions occur, entire species of algae, plankton and other particles of life can disappear.