The ocean is home to thousands of species that depend on it for oxygen and food. It’s important for human life as well, and it’s crucial to maintain a balance in the ecosystem. Human activities like overfishing and plastic pollution has, unfortunately, become the death for many marine lives.
Data shows that around 80% of ocean plastics come from land and the remaining, from the ocean. And over 50% of the plastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) come from fishing lines, nets and ropes. If awareness isn’t spread and action isn’t taken, humans could, quite literally, be the death of all ocean life.
Here are some of the infinite human activities that affect the ocean adversely:
Fishing can have a drastic effect on ocean. As protein consumption continues to grow, so has the frequency and quantity of fishing. Throughout the 20th century, large scale fishing projects have led to overfishing, leading to the untimely death of hundreds and thousands of innocent marine species. So many large fish species have dropped to as low as 90%, which disrupts ocean food chains. As the population of predators declines, the prey population starts to grow without any check and balance, causing major alterations to the entire marine ecosystem.
Pollution has become the sole enemy for both the land and the marine population. As more and more plastic enters the water bodies, the volume of ocean debris rises, thus increasing the acidification in the ocean. Several innocent species mistake plastic for food and consume it, which poisons them to their death. And various others get stuck in fishing nets. Oil spills like the one that happened due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon fire contaminate large stretches of the water that can wipe out complete populations of many marine lives.
Organic waste that ends up in the ocean can have devastating effects. Fertilizers and sewage runoff can flow into the water bodies, leading to an abundance of toxic substances in the ocean. This disrupts the balance of life in the affected area of the ocean. The organic pollution can lead to algae blooms – a sudden and rapid rise in species of microorganisms that can intoxicate the water and consume excess oxygen. Due to lack of oxygen and food, several ocean lives may struggle to survive and eventually, die.
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