Ocean pollution


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Ocean pollution

  1. 1. Problem:  Pollution of the world's oceans is quickly becoming a major problem on Earth.  We know very little about the effect that pollution has on the oceans but we continue to dispose of chemicals, sewage and garbage into it.
  2. 2. Toxic Ocean Pollutants  Our waste, even in small quantities, have huge effects on ocean communities and species.  Toxic pollutants in the ocean ecosystem have massive impacts on the plants and animals.
  3. 3. Some major types of pollutants:  garbage  sewage  chemicals  radioactive waste  heavy metals  oil
  4. 4. Marine Garbage  Garbage includes junked out fishing nets, plastics, general household garbage  Garbage in the oceans is a serious issue as fish entangle themselves in fishing nets and animals sometimes eat trash products and die.  There are numerous examples each year of dolphins, sharks and whales entangling themselves in fishing nets and dying from oxygen starvation
  5. 5. Oceanic Sewage Disposal  Typically the problem with sewage is that it causes massive nutrient loading in the ocean ecosystem.  After the depletion of oxygen levels from sewage, many organisms in the ocean die from being unable to breathe properly.  Other problems associated with sewage include parasites/bacteria that require the closing of coastal beaches and poisoned shellfish fisheries.
  6. 6. Chemicals  These are toxic substances that are released by the industrialized nations and make their way into ocean systems.  Toxic chemicals often enter ocean systems through food chains and affect organisms at different times and places from where they were released.
  7. 7. Radioactive waste  Radioactive waste enters the ocean from nuclear weapon testing, the releasing or dumping of wastes from nuclear fuel cycle systems, and nuclear accidents.  Dumping of high-level radioactive waste is no longer permitted in the ocean, but dumping of low- level wastes is still permitted. Low-level waste contains less radioactivity per gram than high-level waste. High-level wastes usually have longer halflives.  For example, one common high-level waste that is produced by spent nuclear fuel has a half-life of 24,100 years.
  8. 8. Heavy Metals  Heavy metals in the water are dangerous when they have a chance to built up inside organisms.  Organisms tend not to get rid of the metals within them, so it accumulates over the coarse of their life  Examples: mercury, cadmium, arsenic
  9. 9. Oil Spills  One of the areas that is most obviously affected after an oil spill is the shoreline. The oil washes up on the beaches coating the sand, rocks, and plants with oily residue. When the sand is covered with oil it can't support the vegetation that normally would grow there. Wildlife may eat the contaminated vegetation and become sick or die.
  10. 10. Oil Spills Oil spills can impact wildlife directly through three primary pathways:  ingestion – when animals swallow oil particles directly or consume prey items that have been exposed to oil  absorption – when animals come into direct contact with oil  inhalation – when animals breathe volatile organics released from oil or from "dispersants" applied by response teams in an effort to increase the rate of degradation of the oil in seawater
  11. 11. Cleaning-up oil spills:  1. Dispersants: Oil can be broken down more quickly by spraying dispersants (chemicals) on the oil slick from boats or planes. This method only works on fresh, small oil spills.  2. Booms: A boom has a floating skirt suspended down in the water and a sail holding it above the water line. The floating skirt stops the oil from passing. These are used to prevent oil from entering delicate and protected areas.  3. Slick-lickers: This method uses a belt of oil absorbing material that sucks up the oil from the ocean water. The oil is then squeezed out of the absorbing material into a collecting bin.