By Kristine Bakker
Causes and Effects
Oceans are the largest bodies of water present on our planet and cover more than 70 percent of it. Over the last decades, human activity has had an immense impact on marine life and has caused ocean pollution to increase even more each day. The main cause of this pollution is the introduction of toxic and harmful materials into the ocean such as plastic, oil spills, heavy metals, chemicals and most importantly, agricultural, industrial and radioactive waste. Another factor that has a great influence on ocean pollution is the garbage we throw away, which in the majority of cases is transported into the ocean through improper dumping in rivers and streams. Plastic bags can also be carried by the wind and not recycled by recycling facilities since only 1% of them are recycled correctly, leading certain countries to dump their trash illegally into the ocean as well. Mining for materials such as copper and gold is also a major source of contamination and can interfere with the life cycles of major marine organisms like starfish. Sewage is also a clear factor of why the oceans are being polluted more and more. Polluting substances (minerals) inside sewage can enter the oceans directly, causing more impact on marine life than you think.
THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR PLANET IS THE BELIEF THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL SAVE IT. ~ ROBERT SWAN
What You Can Do to Help Reduce Ocean Pollution
- Support Non Profit Ocean Conservation Organizations
Many organizations out there raise money for ocean conservation such as the 4ocean company and Oceana. For every bracelet you buy (which is made out of 100% recycled materials), 4ocean takes out 1 pound of trash from the ocean. Oceana is also a non profit organization that’s more focused on influencing specific policy decisions to preserve and restore the world’s oceans.
If you don’t want to spend money on helping out a specific organization and want something more local, you could always participate in clubs right here at EAB that focus on impacting the world positively regarding environmental issues. EAB Goes Green is a great example of this, since their main objective is to reduce, reuse and recycle materials here on campus (you can access https://www.eabdf.br/student-life/eab-goes-green/ for more information).
- Use Fewer Plastic Products
It’s proven that the effects of plastic on marine life are immeasurable and several marine species are on the verge of extinction due to our own plastic consumption. To reduce your own plastic consumption, try not to consume single-use plastic (like plastic straws, cups, plates, etc), instead choose products made from recycled materials and that can be reused.
- Conserve Water
Any of the water you use in your home is later sent to a sewage treatment plant, where the pollutants are removed before going into local bodies of water. However, the problems start to come in when we use too much of the water available to us since our supply is limited.
- Don’t Litter
It’s a fact that littering is one of the main causes of ocean pollution and can greatly affect marine life. Animals like turtles, seals, birds and dolphins often mistake plastic waste for food, which ends up killing them, so don’t litter!