We all know how important oceans are to all life on earth. Although the oceans are one of the most valuable natural resources, they face several threats
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Oceans cover more than 70 percent of our planet. From cleaning the air and providing livelihoods for millions to being home to all marine life, the importance and value of this natural resource is quite difficult to measure.
Most of us know how important the oceans are to all life on Earth, yet the waters remain bombarded with various types of pollution that threaten them.
In honor of World Oceans Day, observed every year on June 8th, here are the most common and worst threats facing the oceans, from piles of garbage to plastic, fertilizers and even noise.
More plastic than fish
Eight million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year, which is the equivalent of nearly 57,000 blue whales.
At this rate, it is projected that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish in the ocean.
Most of the plastic that ends up in the oceans comes from single-use plastic bags, water bottles and straws that people throw away rather than recycle.
The plastic then pollutes our waters and is ingested by marine life such as fish, whales, turtles and seabirds. Since most of it is not biodegradable, the debris settles to the bottom of the ocean, forming huge patches of garbage.
There are five such patches of garbage in the world, with the largest – the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – said to be twice the size of Texas with an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of garbage.
Sound waves travel faster and longer distances in water than in air. This means that noise pollution from shipping and military activities can harm and even kill marine species.
Many marine mammals, such as dolphins and whales, and other sea creatures rely on sound to communicate, mate, navigate, and find food.
Therefore, in the face of increasing man-made noise, these species are unable to survive in their habitat.
Noise pollution can also cause cellular damage to creatures like jellyfish and anemones, which are a vital food source for various sea creatures like tuna, sharks, and turtles.
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Emissions of toxic by-products from the oil and gas industry have a lasting impact on the oceans, as thousands of oil spill into the sea every year.
These oils stay in the water for decades, causing irreversible damage to marine ecosystems. Oil from the 1989 tanker Exxon Valdez, which spilled in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989, is still in the waters.
Similarly, the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling disaster spilled millions of gallons of oil through the Gulf of Mexico and devastated coastal communities.
Oil spills are difficult to clean up, even with the most advanced technologies that remove only fractions of the oil that pollutes our oceans.
Climate change is responsible for several threats to life on Earth – including the health of the oceans. Climate change is making the oceans hotter and more acidic.
This in turn makes it harder for marine life to breathe in the water as the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water drop.
Too many nutrients
Nutrients above a certain level can also be harmful to the ocean. Agricultural nutrients such as nitrogen in large quantities can lead to algae growth.
As the algae decompose, oxygen in the surrounding waters is depleted, creating a dead zone that can kill fish and other marine life.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/world-ocean-day-5-worst-27174975 World Ocean Day - 5 of the worst threats to the oceans from plastic to noise - World News