Pollution on Marine Mammals

Save the ocean

Effect on the mammals

What the study didn’t cover directly may be even more disturbing: marine mammals are suffering dramatic rises in devastating illnesses, such as nervous and digestive system problems, liver disease, contaminant-induced immunosuppression, endocrine system damage, reproductive malformations, and growth and development issues. Worse yet is the alarming growth in cancer cases. Many scientists around the world believe these illnesses are being caused by contamination of the ocean with man-made toxic chemicals.

Types of pollution

Oil

Petroleum products used for fuel are mined from the earth deep below the ocean surfaces. Occasionally, offshore drilling rigs experience accidental leaks. Ships carrying oil have also been known to cause devastating oil spills, but these are large-scale disasters. Oil seepage occurs on a smaller but continuous level, leaching from factories and other plants. In fact, one of the greatest sources of oil pollution is people who pour various cooking oils and grease down the sink drains in their homes.

Dumping

A portion of the billions if not trillions of tons of trash produced each year finds its way into ocean waters. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen plastic bottles and other waste floating onto the beaches. Trash is often dumped from ships and offshore drilling rigs directly into the sea. Aside from trash, industrial waste is one of the major issues when it comes to ocean dumping. These toxic chemicals, including radioactive chemicals, are a death sentence for ocean life forms.

Sewage

Animal waste and human wastewater from toilets and other household activities such as bathing and laundering as well as food preparation are often washed directly into the ocean from coastal communities. Untreated sewage contains microbes or pathogens that precipitate disease when infected seafood is consumed or skin contact occurs. In some cases, solid sludge from treated sewage is also dumped into the oceans.

Air Pollution

Air pollution and ocean pollution are inextricably linked. Pollution from automobiles and factories is translated into acid rain, which falls into the ocean and mingles with its waters.

Agricultural Runoff

Rainwater washes pesticides and fertilizers into smaller water sources such as streams and rivers, which ultimately carny those toxic chemicals into the ocean. Another source of agricultural runoff is animal waste, which is not treated like human sewage. For example, runoff from Midwestern farms into the Mississippi River is responsible for the "Dead Zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, which features very little marine life.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a lesser known source of pollution, but can have grave effects. The chemicals in sunscreen worn by swimmers and divers washes off into the ocean water and coats plant-life on coral reefs and suffocates them. Vast swaths of reefs have been destroyed, but there are eco-friendly sunscreen products on the market that help to prevent this terrible side-effect, while still protecting skin from cancerous sunrays.

How to prevent ocean pollution

  • Carry a resuable recycling bag instead of plastic bags
  • Store food in reusable containers instead of those you throw away
  • Avoid products that come with excess packaging
  • Don't litter
  • Recycle
  • Volunteer your time to clean up a beach if you live nearby
  • Visit the beach, tourism improves coastal communities
  • Lobby your politicians on environmental issues
  • Donate to an organization that protects the ocean