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The ocean is considered to be very valuable and important to living things as it supports and provides shelter and resources to many. However, the ocean environment is facing major consequences as pollution, unfortunately, brings great trouble to the waters. Dr. Ermal Xhelilaj Ph.D. and Dr. Shkelqim Sinanaj Ph.D. of the University “Ismail Qemali” Vlore state that “the ocean is so beneficial” and because it does so much, it’s important to prevent harm to it. But because of the effects pollution has had on the waters, it can seriously harm animals, pollute shorelines which are homes to many, and negatively impact vegetation as well (Xhelilaj and Sinanaj 21).
Contamination causes a chain reaction that hurts everyone in the end. According to A. T. Williams and Nelson Rangel-Buitrago, professor University of Wales Trinity Saint David and faculty of the Basic Sciences University of the Atlantic Barranquilla respectively, the marine litter issue is growing out of hand. Precaution must be taken, because “it’s costs to society and marine environments are immeasurable and irreversible,” meaning if this is never taken into consideration there will not be a chance to fix the damage that has been brought upon the ocean (Williams and Rangel-Buitrago 648).
It’s valuable to see the environmental effects pollution has because it gives a better understanding of what’s occurring in our environment and influences people to find a solution sooner. What affects the water will eventually affect us, as plants and animals use it in their everyday lives.
Once it’s recognized how poorly our oceans are being treated, more effort can go into resolving this issue, making the environment healthier and its effects on others positive.
Pollution mainly from oil and plastic has and still greatly affects the fauna of the ocean. José G.B. Derraik, the senior research fellow at the Liggins Institute of the University of Auckland says pollution, especially of plastic, is posing a great threat to marine life and its surroundings. (Darraik 842). The threats to these animals are due to the ingestion of plastic debris and entanglement in packaging bands, synthetic ropes and lines, or drift nets. And as the use of plastic increases, the amount of plastic in their environments increases as well. The rise of plastics and other debris in the animals’ systems raises their risk of being harmed and put in great danger. Once again, Xhelilaj and Sinanaj state that the impact is found on shorelines where animals and plants may be physically coated and smothered by oil or exposed directly to toxic components in the oil (Xhelilaj and Sinanaj 20). Oscar Schachter, professor at Columbia Law School and Daniel Serwer Professor of the Practice of Conflict Management as well as director of the Conflict Management and American Foreign Policy Programs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies say Birds are particularly sensitive to oil pollution and the attempts made to save them by cleaning then have not been successful (Schacter and Serwer 90). Many sea and shorebirds and other animals die from drowning as they submerge under the water looking for food. Also, because the sea has become so cloudy, it has caused the number of coral and fish species to drastically reduce. Long-term pollution tends to have a more drastic effect on marine life, however. Although low-level effects may not kill marine animals at the moment, they may still affect the food chain later on, which therefore affects the humans who eat those fish.
Water is a very vital factor in life, as it is considered a very reliable resource, but when it gets tampered with the effects become very drastic. Robert D. Hennigan, Director of NYWEA, Water Resource Center at SUNY, and chair of other groups says water quality is very complex and must be approached to provide effective remedial action. Water quality is determined by many things, including natural conditions, human activities, land uses, but mainly by wastewater disposal. This has a very dramatic effect because the water supply quality decreases, therefore causing beaches to close, sewage and waste fill the floors of lakes and rivers, as well as affecting the color and smell with floating solids, colors, oil and odors. So many factors go into maintaining the cleanliness of the water, but as soon as pollution falls into a situation, everything deteriorates. According to Former Senior Hydrogeologist at the Wisconsin Geological, Alexander Zaporozec, high-quality water is becoming more scarce (Zaporozec 402). The pollutants that get discharged to surface water don’t dissolve, but instead, get absorbed into the sediment of oceans. Waste disposal also affects the quality of water through spills of toxic chemicals, leakage from underground tanks and pipes, and salt used on roads. As it collects all of these impurities, the contaminated water gets spread by streams and rivers, and eventually flows into our oceans.
As contamination continues to affect the oceans, the damage to our ecosystems increases. And the coral reefs, which are very important ecosystems in oceans that many marine animals rely on, are being targeted the most. Dietrich H. H. Kühlmann, professor of marine ecology at the University of Havana, Cuba says they are a source of fish, crustaceans, turtles, and shells, reefs provide a livelihood for many people. Tundi Agardy, marine conservationist and founder of Sound Seas says coral reefs are being destroyed all around the world. This is because they are strongly affected by the overfertilization of water caused by nutrients from fertilizer and sewage (Agardy 36). Due to the excessive quantities of fertilizer nutrients, algae overgrows and smothers reefs, leading to a completely altered ecosystem. Contamination also alters how an ecosystem functions. Diego L. Gil‐Agudelo, professional in Marine Sciences of Texas A&M University says sewage pollution can promote bacterial and plant growth as well as cause declines of oxygen levels in the water, which then creates changes in the productivity of the ecosystems. Under low and moderate nutrient increases from sewage, the productivity increases without much change in biomass or trophic structure of ecosystems. Because these levels increase, the algae can additionally take control of the ecosystems. Nutrients like nitrates at high concentrations and toxic substances usually found in sewage waters can also be toxic for corals. Its residues can affect the cellular defense mechanisms of organisms as well, increasing disease in coastal and marine ecosystems. All over the world scientific observations indicate an increase in coral disease. Bacteria, fungus and algae are creating infections that result in “shutdown reactions” (Kühlmann 15). Once the water is contaminated, eventually “the whole food chain within a radius of several hundred kilometers is contaminated”.
With an increasing population comes an increased amount of pollutants going into our oceans. And with that also comes a great rise in the amount of damage done to the environment. The main cause of our contaminated waters is due to pollution such as trash, sewage waste, and oil, so much that oceans are almost arriving to the point of destruction, with no room for improvement in the future. It’s important to value this issue so it can be acknowledged. Once more recognize how serious of a problem pollution is to people, animals, plants, and resources, hopefully it will influence an eagerness to educate others on the situation, as it harms, living beings, homes, and will eventually have a domino effect and hurt everyone in the long run even worse than it does now. The environment will suffer many consequences, therefore, precautions need to be taken so more can be put forth in making an effort to decrease the effects of marine pollution on the environment.
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