Ours, a water planet. The ocean covers 71 percent of the surface of the globe, and it constitutes over 90 percent of all habitable space on Earth. Its total volume is around 300 million cubic miles and its weight is approximately 1.3 million million million tons. No wonder that Arthur C. Clarke, scientist and writer, once remarked that it was inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when clearly it is ocean.* * (Mulvaney 28). Ocean pollution is growing out of control, and the clean up of our worlds oceans is critical. Ocean pollution is now a big problem facing us in everyday life. For years we have been trying to stop the dumping of trash, chemicals, and toxic waste into our oceans but the people who do it, still find ways to get around the rules and laws we have created (Mulvaney 28) Why should we have to live with an ocean so polluted where in time we will not even be able to fish or swim in it?
The solutions to the problem of ocean pollution are endless and worthwhile. Since we caused ocean pollution, it is our job to clean it up. We* are the future, we* are the ones who should be working to find out ways to stop it. If we continue to abuse our ocean with pollution it will affect our world and lifestyle in many ways. For instance, living in an area so near the coast our town relies on the ocean as a main attraction, as well as a major source of food. Suppose both of these aspects were eliminated due to pollution. Do you think an ocean town such as this would still be booming during those summer months. It would not be such a problem if this was the only ocean town, but it isnt. There are thousands of towns that rely on the ocean, not just in this country but all over the world.
Ocean pollution is defined as the contamination of the ocean with man-made waste. The National Research Council has estimated that as many as 8.8 million tons of oil enters the oceans every year as a cause of human activity. It Is also said, that at any given time, the ocean contains over 280,000 tons of tar balls. All kinds of garbage, ranging from fishing nets to trash, from cargo ships to litter on the beaches, finds its way into coastal waters and the ocean.
Here, it traps, ensnares, and entangles marine wildlife such as many different species of marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds. Plastic pellets have been found on the surface of the Pacific at concentrations of 21,000 per square mile; a cleanup exercise on the coast of Texas yielded 15,600 six-pack rings along 1.8 miles of coastline; and a National Academy of Sciences review once estimated that over 14 billion pounds of garbage enters the ocean from sea-based sources alone. In the 1980s, it was reckoned that 30,000 northern fur seals died each year after becoming entangled in marine debris, principally lost or abandoned fishing gear.
Heavy metals–mercury and lead, for example–and organochlorine compounds such as PCBs and DDT, have been associated with a wide variety of impacts on marine wildlife(Mulvaney 29-30). A serious form of ocean pollution might be heading to the coast of New Jersey starting in October. The conflict is that the New York Port Authority wants to dredge New York Harbor, which is full of contaminates such as mercury and other toxic and harmful substances, off of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. New York is planning to dump 40 million tons of toxic mud six miles off shore. Just when you though it was safe to go back in the water,* stated Degener, dumping off the NJs coastline starts up again.* The fate of the ocean is inextricably entwined with that of the coast*(Mulvaney 30). One of the major reasons for the increase in ocean pollution, is the increase in population on our coastlines.
If more people inhabit our coastlines, more trash is brought into these areas, therefore causing an increase in ocean pollution, as well as an increase in other types of pollution. When we inhabit the coast, we destroy the natural coastal ecosystem and our garbage and pollution from our cars, boats, ecedra, go into the coastal land which is washed off into the ocean when it rains and storms. Another cause of ocean pollution is the depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone layer is being depleted by CO(Carbon Monoxide) that we put into the air by way of our factories, cars, and power plants. Mulvaney states that according the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), a grouping of 300 scientists from around the world, climate change has the potential to significantly affect biological diversity in ocean and coastal areas. It could cause changes in the population sizes and distribution of species, alter the species composition and geographical extent of the habitats and ecosystems, and increase the rate of species* extinctions*(31).
There have been many organizations formed who are trying to clean up ocean pollution. Such organizations include the WWF(World Wildlife Federation), Green Peace, EPA(Environmental Protection Agency), and NOAA(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). All of these organizations have encouraged the government to take action against ocean pollution. Treaties have been signed in the past to ban some kinds of ocean pollution, yet polluters have found numerous ways around them. When the Law of the Sea Treaty marked its 10th anniversary late last year, there was no cause for celebration. Sixty countries must ratify the accord before it an go into effect, and only 52 had. It remains a paper treaty.*(Berghuizen 45) There are numerous solutions for ocean pollution which are extremely worthwhile.
Again, it is our job to clean up the mess in our the oceans because, as the human race, we are the ones that have created it. Given the size and extent of the ocean, along with the complexity and variety of the issues it faces, addressing threats to the marine environment generally requires a multifaceted approach. Because of the global nature of human activities that impact the ocean, many environmentalists concentrate their efforts on seeking to have those activities regulated. If necessary, they wish for it to be banned by international conventions.(Mulvaney 31-32) What Mulvaney is trying to say is that in order to solve ocean pollution we have to solve other problems too, such as the over production of garbage, as well as the dumping of oil, gas, and unused minerals. In order to achieve the goal of solving the ocean pollution problem, we have to study the facts.
We must think of the goals we want to achieve, and what we can do to stop it, or at the prevent the furthering of it. Although some of the countries with a coastline refuse sign a treaty, it does not mean we stop there. We have to push and push in order to get our point across. A few studies that have recently been brought about have shown that ocean pollution is being overblown. NOAAs report measured levels of seven trace metals–including cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and zinc–and four organic compounds*–including DDT, chlordane, and PCBs(Merline 1).* Does this mean that ocean pollution is solved? No, it just means that since we have controlled pollution, the amounts of pollution have generally decreased. This means that we are doing a good job of getting the point across, and we must continue to push our efforts.
If the amount of the pollution in our oceans continues to decrease, eventually our problem may be eliminated. The clean-up of the oceans has already began. Many scientists have found more efficient ways to clean-up ocean pollution easier and faster. Many ordinary people are even helping with the clean-up. Such groups of people include students worldwide, tree-huggers*, the elderly, and other ordinary people who care enough about our ocean to do something. Many people are unaware of the serious issue of our overly polluted ocean. It is certain that if we get the explanations about our problem out to more people, the solutions will eventually come. We will help the ocean become clean faster and easier.
To clean up the oceans, means we must create new ocean dumping laws that are logical and work. We need to have ocean and beach clean-ups, and must encourage scientists find organic ways to get the ocean. Overall, it is plain to see although you may not have previously that ocean pollution is a major problem facing us. We have read the facts, examined the problems and solutions. We have come up with ways to end it, but we just need to get to work on getting the word out. If we teach everyone this issue, more people will become aware of ocean pollution. Let us solve this issue because we deserve a clean ocean and a clean earth.