The pollution of the ocean is rapidly becoming a crucial problem on Earth. The major causes of sea pollution are oil spills, toxic waste, and dumping of other harmful materials into the ocean. This pollution will directly affect the living organisms in the ocean and indirectly affect human’s health and resources. We, as humans, should learn more about these in order to have the knowledge on how to solve this problem effectively. Oil spill is perhaps the most publicly acknowledged cause of sea pollution. Large tanker accident like the Exxon Valdez had been rapidly known worldwide.
This incident happened in Prince William Sound, Alaska in March 1989, where the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker, grounded on Bligh Reef, spilling almost 11 million gallons of crude oil. It is considered as one of the most devastating human-caused environmental tragedy. Plenty of people didn’t realize that hundreds of millions of gallons of oil are quietly end up in our oceans by other sources such as routine shipping, run-offs, and dumping every year. Toxic wastes are poisonous chemical and biological materials that are produced from industrial plants or facilities and agricultural work that are carried away through freshwater and into the rivers, lakes, and ocean.
These dangerous pollutants include chemical contaminants such as Lead, Mercury, Asbestos, Sulphur, Nitrates, etc., and biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, etc. Dumping of litter into the ocean can cause huge problems to the marine life. The ocean is a virtual dumping ground for rubbish. That garbage includes scrap fish nets, plastic bags, tin cans, glass or plastic bottles etc. Sea pollution will cause different harmful effects on the wildlife. For example, oil spills frequently the kill marine lives and further cause extinctions. Blow holes of the whales and dolphins will be clogged by the oil, making them very difficult to breathe and communicate regularly.
And the fur of the otters, seals and penguin will be coasted by a thick layer of oil, leaving them exposed to hypothermia. When oil floats on the water, this will block the sunlight from the photosynthetic aquatic plants. Sea pollution is also harmful to human’s health. Although it may not directly and immediately affect human’s health, it can damage our health after a long term of exposure. For instance, industrial waste is one of the dangerous pollutants which are extremely harmful to human’s health. Chemical properties such as Mercury and Lead are consumed by human indirectly from consuming fishes that have been caught from the polluted ocean. And Lead is dangerous to our health, especially children’s and pregnant women’s as it accumulates in the body and will affect the central nervous system.
There are many ways that ocean pollution can be prevented or controlled. A lot of people are unaware that huge portion of the pollution problem can be tracked right back to their own backyards and homes. Therefore, sea pollution can be prevented by keeping to some simple guidelines in our daily life. For example, be aware of what we throw down the sink or toilet. Solvent litter like paints or oil should not be thrown down the drain as it will slowly flow to the ocean through the streams and rivers. And of course the most basic way to prevent sea pollution is to avoid throwing rubbish into the rivers, lakes and oceans. One of the other ways to control sea pollution is through industrial water treatment.
In order to release sewage back into the environment safely, the raw sewage must first be treated correctly in a water treatment plant. In the water treatment plant, the sewage will go through a few phases, which includes a numbers of chambers and chemical processes, to filter, degrade and get rid of any left-over impurities in order to minimize the toxicity level and amount of the waste. “Prevention is better than cure.” It is not just the government’s responsibility, but is every individual’s responsibility to put in effort to help control and prevent the pollution of the ocean. This is a very important task to protect and improve the quality of the environment for our future generations.