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The ocean is dying. There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. 269,000 tons float on the surface, while four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer lie the deep sea.The majority of pollutants going into the ocean come from activities on land. Natural processes and human activities along the coastlines affect the health of our ocean.
One of the biggest sources is called nonpoint source pollution, like septic tanks, cars, trucks, and boats, plus larger sources, such as farms, livestock ranches, and timber harvest areas. Pollution that comes from a single source like an oil or chemical spill is known as point source pollution. Often this type of pollution has large impacts but fortunately they occur less often. Discharge from faulty or damaged factories or water treatment systems is also considered point source pollution.
Sound waves travel farther and faster in the sea’s dark depths than they do in the air, and many marine mammals like whales and dolphins, in addition to fish and other sea creatures, rely on communication by sound to find food, mate, and navigate. But an increasing barrage of human-generated ocean noise pollution is altering the underwater acoustic landscape, harming, and even killing marine species worldwide.
The oil and gas industry’s routine operations emit toxic wastes, release high levels of greenhouse gases, and lead to thousands of spills in U.S. waters. That oil can linger for decades and do irreversible damage to delicate marine ecosystems. The Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling disaster in 2010, which spread millions of gallons of oil throughout the Gulf of Mexico. But even smaller spills pollute the ocean with long-lasting impacts. Even the most advanced cleanup efforts remove only a fraction of the oil, and sometimes they use hazardous technologies. Chemical dispersants used in the largest spill response efforts 1.8 million gallons were released into the Gulf after the Deepwater disaster are dangerous pollutants themselves.
The fate of our seas is not only up to the government or industry. Our individual, daily actions matter, too. You can start by reducing water pollution and runoff at home, being more mindful of your plastic consumption, or organizing a cleanup of your local waterway. So sign this petition to help stop the pollution in the oceans.
“Ocean Pollution.” Gulf Oil Spill | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, www.noaa.gov/resource-collections/ocean-pollution
“Causes and Effects of Ocean Pollution.” Conserve Energy Future, 20 Jan. 2017, www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-and-effects-of-ocean-pollution.php
Mosbergen, Dominique. “The Oceans Are Drowning In Plastic -- And No One's Paying Attention.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 May 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/plastic-waste oceans_us_58fed37be4b0c46f0781d426.
Gray, Alex. “Plastic Pollution: Which Two Oceans Contain the Most?” World Economic Forum, www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/plastic-pollution-which oceans-contain-most/.
“Facts and Figures on Marine Pollution | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.” UNESCO, Discovery Channel, Producer., www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/ioc-oceans/focus-areas/rio-20 ocean/blueprint-for-the-future-we-want/marine-pollution/facts-and-figures-on- marine-pollution/.
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