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Monday, March 29, 2010

Marine pollution

Marine pollution

The continued degradation of the human environment has become a major problem in all parts of the world. Environment is everything that surrounds a plant or animal or human being, and affects the way it grows. The three major components of environment are; air, water and soil. The nature of these components are constantly being changed on earth through their interaction with living things .The two are very closely linked and a drastic change in one can lead to far-reaching changes in the other. The sea water which covers about two-third of the planet ,plays a vital role in maintaining the fundamental biological and ecological balance.

Man has always been attracted to the ocean for a variety of reasons which include adventure, food, trade, commerce, industry and recreation. He has thus put ocean to multiple use and will continue to do so in future. But the most injurious use mankind has put the ocean is for disposal of various harmful wastes. We are polluting our marine environment with increasing amounts of waste products, which originated with expanding technology,without full knowledge or ways in which these materials may interact with our surrounding and eventually affect our well being.

The sea-food man consumes is directly or indirectly dependent on the coastal zone and pollution of water in these areas causes significant threat to great portion of world fishing. The marine inhabitants like planktonic and nektonic (floating and swimming organisms), along with fish and fauna constitute the ecological unit know as “community”. It functions and survives on a delicate ecological balance, any disturbance of which will have harmful effects on marine food chain.

Pollution has already affected ocean’s source of food. Shellfish have found to have hepatitis, polio-virus and other pathogens. DDT was found in the Antarctic fish and penguins.

Marine pollution has also affected the recreational facilities on the beach. The floating materials like solid waste, oil, rotting algae, anaerobes have caused unpleasant odour and put threat to recreational and aesthetic value of sea.

The major sources of marine pollution are-:

1.Oil-Oil in marine environment comes from various sources like natural submarine seepage, natural decay of marine plant and animal life, shore-based industries and transport activities, wrecked oil tankers and other ships and discharges from ships which pump out cargo and clean tanks with sea water. Many techniques can help reduce the volumes and effect of oil pollution like mechanical removal of oil from polluted beaches.

2.Waste disposal-:Wastes can be divided into domestic and industrial wastes. The former include wastes from food processing , detergents and run-off from agricultural area. Latter includes heavy metals, radio-active nuclides inorganic chemicals and heated water.

So, as we see that there is an acute problem of marine pollution, necessitating it’s management. Management of marine pollution does not mean outright prohibition though , because that may evolve substantial deprivation to legitimate users. It would also stop the development and exploitation of ocean for the benefit of mankind. The solution lies in finding a balance between management and exploitation.


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