Ocean pollution 2022 is on the rise and it is becoming one of the biggest environmental issues for life on earth. The ocean covers more than 70 percent of the surface of our planet and every year billions of pounds of debris, trash, chemicals, and pollutants are entering the seawater – polluting it.
Since oceans play such a pivotal role in the health of this planet as well as all life forms existing on it – ocean pollution 2022 is not a problem we can ignore. To understand what causes marine pollution, how it is affecting us, and what role can we play in its prevention – keep reading.
Causes of Ocean Pollution 2022
Pollutants entering the sea are both natural as well as manmade – but in both cases, we human beings are behind the increasing levels of ocean pollution. Here are some of the most significant causes of sea pollution:
1. Oil Spills
Ships and tankers traveling in the ocean are a big contributor to sea pollution every year. A large amount of oil is released from these ships and boats that are dry-docked on the coasts. Crude oil that gets spoiled in the seawater is toxic and difficult to clean – it forms a layer on the surface of the water, leaving its effects to last for years.
2. Surface Run-off
Surface runoff is also known as non-point source pollution because unlike all other forms of ocean pollution 2022, surface runoff does not have a single origin or source point. Surface runoff is somewhat a natural phenomenon but it is getting worse due to harmful human activities.
Run-off occurs when rain carries pollutants from the ground to the oceans. For example, during heavy rainfall when water flows, it takes trash, spilled oil, and other pollutants like plastic pieces from the street to the sea.
3. Industrial waste
Industrial waste is the most toxic form of ocean pollution in 2022 and it is a result of a range of factors. Industrial waste consists of chemicals, plastic pieces, as well as metallic waste – all of which are extremely dangerous on their own.
● Chemical waste
Chemicals are dangerous substances that infiltrate all forms of water bodies. Most of the time, chemicals seep into the ground and get carried to the ground through runoff – contaminating groundwater, stream, and river as well on their way.
● Plastic Waste
Plastic pollution is a growing problem and has adverse effects on humans, as well as marine life. Apart from small plastic pieces, plastic waste majorly consists is microplastics. They are a dangerous form of plastics that contain numerous toxins.
● Metallic Waste
Metallic waste is another dangerous form of pollution. that is brought to the sea by industrial waste. Most common metals that pollute the sea are mercury and lead – both extremely poisonous and hazardous for life inside and surrounding seawater.
4. Agricultural and Household Waste
Agricultural waste comes from pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers used by farmers to protect their plants. Chemicals from these substances have Ammonia and Phosphate – both dangerous chemicals. Phosphate leads to a nutritional imbalance in seawater leading to the growth of Harmful Algal Blooms.
Household waste consists of wastewater from the kitchen, laundry, and bathroom (excrement). Due to the lack of proper sewage systems across the world, this polluted water reaches the sea and encourages the growth of harmful bacteria.
Effects of Ocean Pollution 2022
It may not be as evident, but ocean pollution has a direct negative effect on the health of all living organisms on earth, as well as on our overall environment.
1. Effect on Human Beings
Ocean pollution 2022 is a clear threat to human life. Here is how:
- Chemicals that reach the sea are poisonous and can lead to life-threatening disorders. For example, ammonia reacts in the water and forms the dangerous chemical ammonium. Ammonium can be hazardous and lead to organ dysfunction and respiratory problems.
- The growth of microorganisms gives rise to water-borne diseases. Some other dangerous pathogens for example Vibrio bacteria can also cause infections and skin problems when humans come in contact with the water.
- Microplastics have chemicals that enter the food chain and target the endocrine and hormonal systems in humans directly. They are also cancerous – leading to birth defects or infertility.
- Metals like mercury and lead can affect fish that are consumed by humans. These chemicals absorb in human blood through their digestive system and affect blood’s capacity to absorb oxygen.
2. Effect on Marine Life
The ocean is a habitat for marine life hence sea pollution is extremely hazardous to them. Here is how:
- Just like human beings, dangerous chemicals that pollute seawater are poisonous for life in the sea. These chemicals can kill marine species.
- Small plastic pieces and debris strangle sea animals and sometimes painfully get stuck in their body – causing them to either live in pain or kill them.
- The oil spills and Harmful Algal Blooms that from on sea surface reduces sunlight and oxygen supply to the water. This oxygen depletion results in killing many sea animals especially dolphins who require air to be able to breathe.
- Overall, ocean pollution is a threat to the marine life ecosystem and is gradually leading to the extinction of many marine species, disturbing their natural habitat, and causing them to live under stress.
Solution and Prevention of Ocean Pollution 2022
Even though ocean pollution is has been on a rise, the damage is not beyond repair yet. There are still some measures that we can take to prevent any further harm. Follow the long list of celebrities that have been supporting ocean conservation. Some simple solutions that can make a big difference are:
- Work on your habits. As an individual, you can stop littering and reduce your use of plastics to avoid them from reaching the sea and polluting it.
- Collaborate with NGOs to organize beach cleanups, and to remove the trash that collects on coasts. This reduces the chance of waste getting carried to the sea through waves and winds.
- Educate farmers to reduce their use of fertilizers and pesticides. Or they can also be advised to switch to organic fertilizers.
- Countries all over the world should be pushed to work on their disposal system. Industrial waste and household sewage needs to be treated before it reaches the sea
We might not see it now, but ocean pollution 2022 is a clear threat to our planet and can become an irreparable problem for us in the coming years. To be able to give our future generations a healthy and safe planet to live in, we must start working on adopting sustainable habits from now on.
As human beings, we can work on ourselves and spread awareness to those around us. It is our responsibility, as the citizens of this planet to understand what is causing this problem, how is affecting us and other life forms, and how we can work on making it better.