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Step We Can Take to Reduce Marine Pollution

     The United States Geological Survey has estimate that there are 346,049,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water in the world's oceans. One can only imagine how much water that is, and would falsely believe that with so much water it is an endless resource. Thinking like that has been the cause of much of our marine pollution problem.

For centuries, man has been dumping pollutants into the oceans and today, nearly all this water contains some level of pollution. It has been estimated that nearly half the world's population lives within 100km (62 miles) of the coastline. This fact alone makes one realize that the problem of marine pollution affects a whole lot of people.

In an effort to reduce marine pollution, the direct dumping of pollutants such as toxic chemicals, human waste, and garbage directly into the ocean, had been banned worldwide since 1972. While these point sources of marine pollution have decreased, the amount of pollutants getting into the oceans from non-point sources continues to grow. Why is Marine Pollution Such a Concern?

Marine Pollution Defined

Marine pollution has been defined as the harmful effects that are caused by the entry of toxic chemicals or particles into the ocean. The problem doesn't stop there, since many of particles are microscopic, they stick to the tiny particles of food that are then eaten by the filter feeding plankton animals. Fish along the food chain start off by eating this plankton, then larger and larger species of fish eat those fish, until the pollution ends up in humans.

To add insult to injury, much of the animal feed for our livestock contains high levels of fish meal and fish oils. These feeds, which are contaminated by marine pollution, are causing contamination of the animals on our land as well as the products produced from these animals. Meat, milk, butter and eggs all have been found to contain contaminates that have been directly traced to marine pollution.

Who Can We Blame?

It would certainly be easier if we could point our finger at a single source of marine pollution, but the answer isn't that simple. In truth, all of us are to blame for this ecological mess.

Some of the sources of pollution that have been identified include"

- Oil Spills - Illegal ocean dumping, shipping and industrial accidents, or faulty equipment have all led to numerous marine catastrophes. - Toxic Materials - Slowly degrading metals and chemicals enter our waterways daily. Everyday household chemicals, industrial waste products, animal waste, and leakage from automobiles are all lumped into the category of toxic materials and are causing our problem of marine pollution

- Trash - Non-biodegradable plastics entering our oceans result in animals getting tangled up in them or they may mistake them for food and die.

- Mining - Coastal mining sites and other erosion makers threaten our waterfronts from the run off of pollutants on the ground to air pollution where impurities in the air find their way to the oceans.

- Raw Sewage - There have been numerous incidences of fines being levied for dumping raw sewage directly into the ocean. It is widely known that sewage contains many toxins that are causing irreversible damage to the animal and plant life that are calling the ocean their home.

What Can We Do?

Just as there isn't a single reason for marine pollution, there isn't a simple solution. Some of the more ingenious ideas that has been proposed are:

- Government - Many governments have passed stricter and stricter laws that regulate and impose fines for the dumping of industrial waste. Until these laws become worldwide, there still will be marine pollution. Countries all over the world need to consider marine pollution a priority.

- In the home - On a more personal level, there are many things we can do to help reduce marine pollution and other forms of pollution. The use of alternative cleaning products that are phosphate-free and do not contain other toxic chemicals is our first step. Eliminating the use of these toxic products in the home can help reduce the amount of toxic waste that contaminates our ground waters and eventually finds its way into the oceans.

- Recycling - Another way to reduce marine pollution. It is critical that we make every effort to keep plastics out of the oceans. This will help reduce the harm they cause to marine and animal life.

- Frugal fuel - By developing clean energy sources, we will rely less on foreign and have less need for large ships to transport that fuel. This hopefully will reduce the number of oil spills that have been so catastrophic to our marine environment.


Whether you live near the cost or not, marine pollution is a serious problem for everyone and we all need to do our part to not only clean up the oceans but to prevent further marine pollution. Solving the problem of marine pollution is going to involve a lot of creative thinking. It will also mean that we will have to change our way of doing things if we want to see a brighter future for our oceans.

Article Source:

Beverly Saltonstall is an environmental writer who gives practical information on a variety of problems related to pollution. For the informative FREE report, "What You Can Do To Help Reduce Pollution, visit

Posted on 2009-06-27, By: *

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