The surface of our Earth is 65% of the waters of the seas and oceans. Because of this abundance of water spaces, the Earth is called the “blue planet”. The role of water in the life of all life on the planet cannot be underestimated. The state of the world’s oceans directly affects the climate, and its waters are the main source of precipitation and make up 50% of the Earth’s oxygen. Water resources are used by people everywhere, in particular, for the extraction of fish and seafood, transportation of goods, travel, and so on. However, the most dangerous is the use of the seas and oceans as a waste dump.
Despite the scale of the oceans, human activities have affected the natural composition of the water and the life of marine life. In particular, due to constant pollution from wastes such as plastic, refined petroleum products and oil, industrial wastewater.
At the moment, the most common source of pollution turned out to be plastic, which enters the water in very large quantities. Plastic has become a key item in the daily life of every person. In stores, most goods are packaged in plastic, food is stored in plastic bags, water is in plastic bottles, and so on. The most insidious thing is that plastic is quickly consumed, and it will take hundreds of years for it to decompose in the aquatic environment. In the seas and oceans, plastic breaks down into small particles, remaining and accumulating non-stop.
At the moment, on the territory of the oceans and seas there are huge spots of garbage. Most of it comes from coastal areas, and the rest is thrown out by people from ships.
The harmfulness of plastic is not only from an ethical point of view. Garbage that enters the oceans and seas is a colossal damage to the underwater world of marine animals. Around 100,000 fish and 1 million birds die from plastic annually. Birds can confuse plastic with food, which then gets stuck in the stomach and leads to long-term death.
Birds can also get entangled in plastic rings and plastic bags, causing them to get stuck and die on the spot. Small underwater animals swallow pieces of plastic, confusing them with plankton and other organisms. Baleen whales survive with great difficulty in the polluted oceans. Also, seals, playing with garbage, stumble upon plastic bands that are wrapped around their necks and injure their bodies.
Oil and oil products
Oil and petroleum products are harmful chemicals. Most of them end up directly in the seas and oceans. Because of this, many birds suffer, which sit on the water surface covered with oil, as a result of which the plumage loses its thermal insulation qualities. Birds die due to hemorrhage and thermoregulation disorders. However, birds are not the only ones affected. Oil, which forms a film on the surface of the water, does not allow the water to be saturated with oxygen and leads to the death of microorganisms, namely plankton. Fish and crustaceans are poisoned due to a range of toxic chemicals that are part of the oil.
Of particular danger are molluscs, in which a large amount of carcinogenic substances of oil is concentrated. Edible shellfish that enter the human body pose a serious threat to health. Part of the oil waste is washed up on the coastlines, causing many animals and people who visit the beach to suffer. Marine oil pollution is an extremely serious and worrying factor.
Agriculture and industry
About five thousand tons of mercury enter the ocean, which was used in industry and agriculture. Mercury significantly reduces water productivity. In high concentration, it helps to reduce the number of green algae, which serve as the synthesis of organic substances and contribute to the formation of oxygen. Heavy metals that are absorbed by phytoplankton are transferred through the food chain to highly organized organisms. Thus, fish and other marine animals accumulate extremely poisonous concentrates of harmful substances.
Pesticides used in agriculture reach extremely high levels. Due to their chemical stability and breadth of distribution, they enter the seas and oceans. The accumulation of organochlorine substances greatly affects human health.
On the surface of the oceans and seas, a lot of beneficial and harmful bacteria accumulate. Due to the uncontrolled release of sewage into the sea, various pathogenic types of bacteria often appear near large cities, which are the causative agents of gastrointestinal diseases.
Only at the state level can one deal with such global problems as warming and pollution of the oceans with various chemical wastes. However, plastic pollution of the seas and oceans is at the mercy of every person. After all, from awareness in the consumption of plastic determines the state of the ocean and its inhabitants. It is enough to use reusable bags, choose glass bottles instead of plastic ones, refuse disposable tableware and much more. The state of our planet directly depends on the actions of each person.