Pollution In Ocean Environmets Essay, Research Paper
Pollution in Ocean Environments
The ocean is a fragile ecosystem that must have a element of constancy
to ensure that life can continue. The plants and the animals alike depend on
the ocean and it is being destroyed by toxins from human activities.
Pesticides like DDT are lethal to the animals in the ocean if given in large
enough amounts and in some areas there is enough DDT to do just that.
Sewage left untreated or improperly treated has the same effect as DDT. The
chemicals that come out of the sewage system in the right amount will kill the
plants and animals in the area. Industry is a vital part of the way we live, we
need electricity and all of the other goods industry provides. But industry
cause major environmental problems to the ocean. There are safe practices to
using pesticides that would reduce if not eliminate the problem. Also the
proper treatment of the sewage and industrial wastes would reduce the
amount of toxins released into the ocean.
Pesticides are a major problem to the environment, but they are also
very important to keep crop yields high. The pesticides reach the ocean
primarily through the tributaries of large rivers that eventually empty into the
ocean. The pesticides get into the rivers by runoff or wind deposition.
Pesticides have regulations that must be followed when spraying your crops
to ensure less runoff, but there was no such regulations in the past. Farmers
could spray their field with as much pesticide as they felt it required, so
obviously they sprayed on a lot. They did not relize that spraying more
pesticide than was necessary is less effective as spraying a proper amount.
This caused the ground water to become polluted with the pesticides and the
pesticides would ultimately end up in the river. When a heavy rainfall occurs
there is a lot of sediment erosion and water runoff. In this sediment and
water runoff pesticides are carried and get into the river systems. The chart
below shows the volume of pesticides used in the United States in different
activities in millions of pounds of active ingredients (Mellanby, 153).
Herbicides Insecticides Fungicides Other Total
Agriculture 525 225 51 60 861
Industrial 115 40 21 0.1 176.1
Home/Garden 30 35 12 0.1 75.1
Total 670 300 84 60.2 1112.2
That is in millions of pounds of the active ingredients only. That is a lot of
toxins being used in the United States and how much was properly stored,
applied and disposed of. Improper use occurs a lot, whether it is a spill or
aplying too much people do not properly use the chemicals and it ends up
hurting the environment. The pesticides that are used are made to be as
dilute as possible to prevent toxins escaping. The pesticides might need to
become stronger now because the pest have become resistant to the pesticide.
There are 428 arthropods, 36 weeds and at least 90 plant pathogens that are
resistant to pesticides (Mellanby, 125). If the pesticides do not effect the
pests then they are going to have to make new pesticides that will be stronger.
Sewage flows into coastal waters all over the world and in many places
it is left untreated. In Hartlepool, England 300 million gallons of untreated
sewage enters the sea every day (Raw Sewage, On-line). This causes a
problem because the sewage that is released untreated carries organic waste
and nutrients, and disease causing bacteria. Organic waste and nutrients
cause oxygen depletion in the water, this is called eutrophication. Nutrients
such as nitrogen and phosphorus provide algae and other aquatic plants with
perfect environment for growth. The plants then overpopulate the area and
when they die the decomposers take oxygen from the water causing fish to
die in excessive amounts because the environment is not suitable for life.
Also eutrophication cause the water have algae slime and other aquatic plant
to wash up on shore or float on top of the water and there by making bad
aesthetics. This causes many places that have relied on the water for tourism
and a source on income to go out of business. Disease causing bacteria
require the closing of beaches and shellfish beds. There has been many cases
of people getting viral hepatitis, cholera, typhoid fever and many stomach
and intestinal diseases from eating bad shellfish or swimming in areas with
high levels of bacteria. In 1993 beaches were temporarily closed over 2400
times in the Unites States because of high bacterial levels (Raw Sewage, On-
line). Many U.S. states monitor bacterial levels in the water and a few others
do not and there are many cases of sickness. The problem of unmonitored
bacterial levels is not as obvious in first world countries as in the third world
countries. There are many outbreaks of disease because of the
underdeveloped governments do not monitor the levels of bacteria.
Industry shapes the life of every person on this planet. The goods we
buy are from industry and about everything we owned is manufactured in one
way or another. These industries are vital but the vastness in which they
pollute is amazing. Acid rain is formed when acids such as sulfuric and
nitric acid react with water vapor in the air. Then when it precipitates this
acid falls to the ground or water. When the precipitate hits the ground it will
run into a body of water and if not directly then eventually in to the ocean.
The effect that acid rain has on the ocean is devastating it kills fish by
poisoning them. The direct discharge from factories release many types of
untreated toxins into the ocean. Some toxins that are released are PCB’s,
chloroform, arsenic, lead, and mercury. These toxins cause aquatic life
forms to die. Also in one case Beluga whales, which are 1/3 fat, absorb the
toxins into their fatty tissue and into there milk, which is fifty percent fat, and
passed to the calves (Beland, 46). This cause many deaths to young Beluga
whales and to other marine mammals. Fish also readily absorb mercury
which causes them to be unfit for human consumption. Power plants that use
water to boil and turn a turbine to produce electricity release this water after
it has been boiled with limited cooling and the hot water disrupts the marine
life around the outlet.
Proper application and choice of pesticides would reduce the amount
of pesticides that are released into the ocean greatly. There are regulations
that are made by the federal and the provincial government that regulates the
use of pesticides and sets out guidelines to follow when applying pesticides.
There is a new way of applying pesticides that is called Chemigation.
Chemigation is basically applying pesticides through an irrigation system.
Some advantages to Chemigation are uniform distribution of pesticide,
reduced mechanical damage to crops, and reduced operation hazards
(Stanley, On-line). This process allows the farmer to apply exact amounts so
pesticides are not over used and spills are less likely. Runoff can be
minimized by the use of GIS and GPS systems to produce a three
dimensional computer image of your land and there by locate problem areas
that precautions should be taken. This sort of a program is going on in Iowa
and is funded by the government (Havens, On-line).
Sewage treatment would greatly reduce the amount of harmful
nutrients that cause eutrophication. There are many different way that
different areas of the world go about reducing the release of nutrients into
bodies of water. This is another use for GIS and GPS systems to produce
three dimensional computer images that can allow us to better observe the
extent of eutrophication. This project is being used in the Chesapeake Bay
area (Eutrophication, On-line). In California they are using marshes to filter
partly treated sewage and the water that flows out on the other end is cleaner
than the water that it is flowing into. The marsh cleans out the water and
uses the nutrients to grow more algae which is good for marsh areas. In
Nova Scotia they are treating sewage naturally. They are using large clear
cylinders to hold snails, fish, and plants such as cattails and irises. The irises
and cattails absorb toxic chemicals and the snails eat the growth on the sides
of the cylinders so sunlight can penetrate the glass and allow the plants to
grow (Redwood, On-line).
Industry contributes a lot in water pollution, but there are things that
can be done to eliminate a lot of it. In the case of acid rain industries can
install scrubbers to remove some of the acids from the exhaust being
released. Also the waste that is release directly into the water can be treated
by treatment plants that add chemicals that are antagonistic to the harmful
chemicals and offset the effect.
The pollution in ocean environments is a serious problem that must be
addressed immediately. There are ways to reduce each of the problems that
have been discussed. Pesticides can be used in smaller amounts, better
pesticides developed, and proper methods used. Sewage can be treated
before it is released to reduce eutrophication. Industrial waste can be reduced
by proper treatment and uses of pollution control devices such as scrubbers.
If each of these problems are addressed quickly and properly than the ocean
could be on its way to being clean and flourishing once again.