There are many ways oil can get into the ocean or any body of water. Of course the most obvious being oil spills but also ways like natural seeps, consumption, transportation, and extraction of oil. Nearly 85 percent of the 29 million gallons of petroleum that enter North American ocean waters each year as a result of human activities comes from airplanes to cars and small boats. (“SOURCES OF OIL IN THE SEA”) While less than 8 percent comes from tanker or pipeline spills. Firstly, natural seeps from the rocks below the seafloor. Oil seeps are common in many areas, including the Gulf of Mexico and offshore of Southern California, and in other areas where oil is found beneath the continental shelf (“ScienceDaily”). Second, we talk about consumption, which includes runoff from land vehicles to marine boating and jet skis in coastal waters. Most cars drip oil on streets and highways which is washed off by rains. The millions of cars in large coastal cities are important sources. Another way is transportation, which mainly consists of spills from tankers and pipelines at sea because the companies really only care about profit. Lastly, we talk about extraction, which includes spills from offshore platforms or even blowouts during efforts to explore for and produce petroleum and gas. There is not a sure fire way to completely prevent oil pollution without making the economy crash; However, we can make stricter rules and regulations with harsher consequences to keep companies as well as people from taking shortcuts.
The effects of oil have on the ocean can be absolutely devastating like stopping up the blowholes of whales, making it impossible for them to breathe properly and disrupting their ability to communicate. Another example is that oil can coat the fur of penguins and seals, which wicks away the heat from their bodies leaving them vulnerable to hypothermia. Even when the oil doesn’t affect some marine mammals directly it can contaminate their food supply. This causes them to get sick or even die. When this happens, other animals higher on the food chain eat them because they are too weak to fight or run away. So the higher you go into the food chain the more toxic it gets.
In conclusion, the human species needs to expand its knowledge as a whole in order to fix the different types of marine pollution. Chemical pollution is mostly commercial and tighter regulation could help resolve the majority of the issue; however, this would have a negative economic impact. Sewage pollution is caused but unregulated dumping and can simply be fixed if we were to update not only the treatment complexes but also the regulations. Oil pollution is caused by things like unregulated dumping to oil seeps. Any oil in any body of water can have no good effect on marine life as well as human life. Lastly, plastic pollution is caused by anything from careless littering to commercial dumping. Since plastic is man-made, nothing can completely decompose it; this means that it stays in the ocean until something or someone takes it out. Plastic can be mistaken for food from hungry animals or could just accidentally swim into causing animals to lose a limb or even suffocate to death. So next time you travel or throw something away, think about the consequences it could have not only on the environment but the human species as a whole.
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