Earth is under attack! And it’s not from the obvious things such as war, poverty and erratic weather but rather a more insidious plague that continues to infiltrate our world – pollution.
Our largest ecosystems are the seas, and they are being heavily burdened by pollution. Recent studies show that degradation has accelerated dramatically in the past three centuries as coastal cities have increased in size and runoff from farms, as well as other influencing factors add more strain to the already over encumbered seas.
Common man-made pollutants that reach the oceans include herbicides, pesticides, chemicals, detergents, sewage, oil and plastics. As the pollutants break down into smaller particles, they are consumed by smaller marine organisms which then make their way into the global food chain.
Nitrogen-rich fertilisers applied inland, make their way down rivers and streams and can spawn massive algae blooms, robbing the water of its much needed oxygen and killing marine life, causing what are termed ‘dead zones’.
Scientists have located approximately 400 dead zones around the world that cannot sustain aquatic life.
Pollution in the form of solid waste such as plastic items and foam are often consumed by marine animals, fish and birds with fatal effects.
Discarded fishing nets often drift for years ensnaring marine mammals and fish.
In certain sea regions, waste is pooled into gigantic floating garbage patches – the most famous of which is called the Pacific Trash Vortex. It is estimated to be twice the size of Texas.
Another massive garbage patch was discovered in the Atlantic Ocean in 2010.