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pollution essay

pollution essay



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Published by jdun87
Essay about the threats to the health of the oceans, particularly related to human activities
Essay about the threats to the health of the oceans, particularly related to human activities

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Published by: jdun87 on May 15, 2008
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Jason DunhamEnglish 101
Oceans in Peril: Crisis of the modern lifestyle
Coral reefs are being threatened by human activity around the planet. “Experts say that asmuch as 60 to 75 percent of the world's coral reefs are in peril, threatened by blast fishing,pollution, disease, and ocean warming” (
Trivedi, Bijal
). Some of the worlds most threatenedcoral reefs are off the islands of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guineaand are also some of the most diverse with as many as 600 species of coral (
). MarkSpalding, a marine ecologist said that blast fishing, particularly common in Southeast Asia,“turns reefs into ruble” (
) . The shockwave from the blast kills fish and tears apart reefs(
). Damage to coral reefs can have sever consequences such as reducing biodiversity,losing a natural barrier that protects islands from erosion, destroying valuable chemicals thatcould be important for fighting diseases such as cancer, losing an important source of income forpoor people in developing countries that rely on ecotourism, and finally coral reefs are a monitorfor the health of ocean ecosystems. Saving the coral reefs will require a collaboration effortbetween scientists, economists, activists, and governments to access the regional value of coralreefs - both market and non-market values - to strengthen management efforts and effectivedecision making. Conduct research about the ways that humans interact with coral reefs andwhat the environmental and economical causes are. Finally research local conservation efforts todetermine there effectiveness of protecting the coral reefs, while still providing a reasonableamount of income for the local populations that rely on them.
Another important ecological issue that threatens the health of ocean ecosystems ispollution that is a direct result from cruise ships. Cruise ships have been described as “floatingcities” and there per capita population is worse than an actual city of the same size because of 1
weak pollution laws, lax enforcement, and the difficulty of detecting pollution sources (
. All cruise ships generate the following waste; grey water, sewage, hazardous waste, andair pollution in similar quantities as a small city (Cruise Ship). A typical cruise ship on a one-week voyage generates more than 50 tons of garbage, one million gallons of graywater (wastewater from sinks, showers, galleys, and laundry facilities), 210,000 gallons of sewage, and35,000 gallons of oil-contaminated water (Cruise Ship). Unfortunately cruise ships sail some of the most pristine wilderness and therefore the pollution they generate can cause serious damageto the aquatic animals and plants in these regions. Since ocean organism did not evolve to dealwith the level of pollution that cruise ships generate a lot of the time the organisms die or areseverely damaged. Since there are week pollution laws and they are not fully enforced there aremany incidents of cruise ships violating pollution laws. The good news is that cruise shippollution is totally preventable. Cruise ship companies can reduce waste by installing wastewatertreatments systems aboard their vessels. Government agencies such as the EPA can requirestricter standard for air pollution. Governments can ban discharges of waste or require all wasteto be treated and monitored. Cruise ship passengers can help by asking cruise ship companiestough questions about how they are monitoring their waste and making sure they are not puttingharmful pollution into the ocean.
Although cruise ships are a source of harmful waste another major problem affecting thehealth of the oceans is plastic pollution. For most of human history the oceans have been used asa dumping ground. The waste generated by industrial revolution factories often was disposedinto the oceans and although this was a harmful practice the amount of waste was minorcompared with the quantity of plastic that is pilling up on the ocean surface today. In fact theproblem of plastic pollution is so sever that when in 2001 the Algalita Marine Research2
Foundation lead by Captain Charles Moore conducted a survey to access the extend of theproblem they discovered an island of plastic covering an area of ocean approximately the size of Texas (Johnson, Genevieve*). “Rivers of soda and water bottles, spray can tops, candy wrappers,cigarette lighters, shopping bags, polypropylene fishing nets, buoys and unidentifiable,miscellaneous fragments collected in a huge rotating mass of plastic pollution” (*) . Despiteliving in an age of recycling only about 3.5% of plastic is recycled in any way around the globe.Considering that 250 billion pounds of plastic pallets are produced annually to be used in variousplastic manufacturing products, the problem is astounding. (*) The problem with plastics in theoceans is that aquatic life did not evolve to deal with this type of pollution. Plastics containchemicals that are toxic to fish and other wildlife. Today plastic debris is responsible for killingoff a widespread amount of marine wildlife including; turtles, birds, mammals, and fish, throughentanglement in plastic fragments and fishing gear. Animals such as turtles and birds becomeprey to mistaking plastic as food and digest it, which can cause sever damage to their stomachsand often leads to death. While the problem can sound very grim there are ways that consumerscan take action to prevent more plastic from contributing to the problem. Consumers can bringtheir own bags to stores and if they forget their bags they can reuse plastic bags and recyclethem. Consumers can buy products in bulk which usually contains less packaging. The fast foodindustry is notorious for generating large amounts of waste including plastic wrappers anddisposable fast food containers. While the United States is number one in annual plastic use with176 lbs. per person, statics indicate that other parts of the world can also step up action: typicalannual plastic consumption in Europe is 132 lbs. per person. Developing countries such as Indiaare also part of the problem contributing 4.4 pound per person (
 Nomad, Kimberley
). Luckilycounties such as China are realizing that they can cut down on their plastic bag consumption. The3

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