The limitless ocean, its immeasurable depth, its untold secrets, its infinity is a wonder. Oceans provides us with plenty of resources like food, transportation, tourism, oil and natural reserves but human activities have caused irreparable damage to the ocean eco system. It’s of extreme concern that there has been a 20% -30% decline of Seahorses and Pipefishes in the Mediterranean.
International Union for Conservation of Nature attributes it to coastal development, bottom trawling and dredging. Similar alarming effects have been the creation of ocean dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico due to increase runoff of ethanol which is used in corn cultivation.
We need to ponder on our day to day activities which cause ocean pollution. Destruction of ocean eco systems damages the livelihoods of humans and creates imbalance in the ocean environment.
- Rampant use of Plastics – Be it a can, savoury snacks packet, food wrappers, beverage and water bottles, plastic bags its usage has to be minimised. Even though it is discarded in the garbage bin properly at our homes, offices, departmental stores, restaurants, it still finds its way into the oceans through landfill runoffs or from drains and garbage dumps. The Pacific Garbage Patch is a blaring example.
- Release of toxic wastes- Toxic chemicals from factories, sewage wastes from hospitality industries, toilet wastes of residential and official premises, fertilizers and pesticides run off from agricultural fields end up in the oceans. All these contain highly toxic volatile compounds which are consumed by marine animals and poses threat. We don’t realise, it comes back to us in the fish or sea food that we relish. Mercury from coal plants is absorbed by organisms which are further eaten by big fish.
- High Carbon Footprints – Vehicular emissions, not switching off the lights, keeping your gadgets plugged for very long time, not using energy efficient appliances or constant use of air conditioning and heating systems causes Carbon Dioxide emission into the atmosphere which is absorbed by the oceans resulting in ocean acidification. The impact will be wiping out of several species like corals and shellfish.
- Lack of knowledge on sustainable fish and sea food– When ordering a tuna dish in a restaurant or relishing the sushi in a sushi bar or buying salmon from the store, do we ever look into the buyers guide. Tuna stocks is fast diminishing and Greenpeace has asked the tuna industry in South East Asia to practice sustainable fishing as indiscriminating catching harms the juvenile fishes too.
- Uncontrolled tourism development– Spending a day on the beach is fun and cool. Bathing in the beach by applying soap lavishly causes harm to the fish. Water sports, scuba diving, careless swimming harms the marine life. The Great Barrier Reef in the north east coast of Australia is facing severe threat of extinction due to unregulated tourism activities.
There are several daily activities which unconsciously create havoc in the ocean world. Ocean friendly paints have perhaps not been used on the brightly painted boat which we use for fishing. Many a time our house plumbing is not in good shape and we use excessive water in showers, gardening or other daily chores. Read azula to know by which human activity we affecting ocean Eco system.
The more of personal hygiene or cleaning or chemical products we use, the impact on oceans gets catastrophic. The throwing of a balloon into the sea or leaving torn synthetic fish nets in the ocean or throwing cigarette butt on the beach, dumping e-wastes, inadvertently has a disastrous impact on marine animals.
We need to be conscious towards marine conservation. We should join hands with a local community for ocean advocacy, campaigns and undertake cleaning measures.