The legal definition of ocean dumping refers to the dumping of garbage, sewage, waste chemicals, and construction debris into the ocean. There are many cases where ocean dumping is controlled and regulated. However, there are hazardous materials being dumped into the sea by tankers and ships. They are also being illegally dumped in coastal waters.

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Causes of Marine Pollution

• Cargo ships both accidentally and deliberately discharge crude oil into the ocean. As far as ocean pollution goes, this is one of the primary causes.

• Other reasons for marine pollution are the dumping of industrial waste. These products contain toxins including mercury, PCBs, PAHs, and radioactive material, all of which pollute the ocean.

• Heavy rains and floods wash trash and debris into the waters.

• Human waste and sewage water that has been partially treated or untreated goes into the ocean. This is called “garbage dumping” and is one of the world’s leading causes of ocean pollution.

• Automobiles emit carbon dioxide due to fossil fuels being burned. This leads to air pollution. The carbon dioxide in the air reaches the ocean and becomes acid rain which then pollutes the water.

Effects of Ocean Dumping

• Oil spills are dangerous for marine life and can affect coral reefs that thrive in the ocean. In fact they can greatly affect the life cycle. The gills of fish can be clogged by spilled oil which can block off respiration. If sunlight is blocked, marine plants will die because it affects photosynthesis and its process.

• These toxins not only affect the marine life, but they affect humans as well. For example, let’s say the fish are contaminated, if someone were to catch a fish and eat it, they could get food poisoning.

• If garbage is dumped into the ocean, the oxygen in the water could be depleted. This results in poor health for marine life due to lack of oxygen. Animals such as seals, dolphins, penguins, sharks, whales, and herring could all die.

• Bottles and other plastics including bags can suffocate or choke sea creatures. Thinking they are food, they may eat them. Plastic items are one of the major causes of death among turtles. They think plastic bags look like jellyfish and try to eat them.

The effects of ocean dumping are due to our carelessness. Roughly two thirds of the world’s marine lives have been threatened with chemicals we throw down the drain every day such as house hold cleaners. It may do you good to remember that marine life is a part of our food chain. Not only do we eat fish and other marine life, but so do other animals. Underwater creatures are a main food source for other fish and bears.

There’s a lot we can do to save our oceans. The best place to start is to keep them clean and not throw anything into them. It’s also a good idea to keep the beaches clean. Garbage on the beach can easily end up in the water. Another thing we can do is to stop pouring chemicals down the drain such as paint or oil. Stop using toxic household products and don’t overwater our lawns, in other words, conserve water.

Now that you know the cause and effects of ocean dumping, you’ll be able to understand that it’s just something you shouldn’t do. You never know how much water is worth, until you have none. It’s best to remember the causes, consider the animals and always keep them in the back of your mind. If we work together we can stop the effects of ocean dumping for good.