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Marine pollution occurs when substances used or spread by humans, such as
industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering dealing with the optimization of complex industrial processes or systems * Industrial loan company, a f ...
,
agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching tele ...
and
residential A residential area is a land used in which houses, housing predominates, as opposed to industrial district, industrial and Commercial Area, commercial areas. Housing may vary significantly between, and through, residential areas. These include ...
waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. A by-product A by-product or byproduct is a secondary product derived from a produc ...

waste
,
particles In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physical property, physical or chemical , chemical properties ...
,
noise Noise is unwanted sound In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the ''reception'' of such waves and the ...

noise
, excess
carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide (chemical formula A chemical formula is a way of presenting information about the chemical proportions of atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is ...

carbon dioxide
or invasive organisms enter the
ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large bodies of water into which the great ocean is divided".
and cause harmful effects there. The majority of this waste (80%) comes from land-based activity, although
marine transportation File:CMA CGM Balzac.jpg, A container ship belonging to the French shipping line CMA CGM. Maritime transport (or ocean transport) and fluvial transport, or more generally waterborne transport, is the transport of people (passengers) or goods (c ...
significantly contributes as well. Since most inputs come from land, either via the
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water ...

river
s,
sewage Sewage (or domestic sewage, domestic wastewater, municipal wastewater) is a type of wastewater Wastewater is generated after the use of fresh water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and n ...
or the atmosphere, it means that
continental shelves
continental shelves
are more vulnerable to pollution.
Air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gas ...

Air pollution
is also a contributing factor by carrying off iron, carbonic acid, nitrogen, silicon, sulfur,
pesticides Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pest (organism), pests. The term pesticide includes all of the following: herbicide, insecticides (which may include insect growth regulators, termiticides, etc.) nematicide, molluscicide, pi ...
or dust particles into the ocean. The pollution often comes from
nonpoint sourceNonpoint source, or non-point source, or NPS, is a source that does not come from a single point. * Point source pollution, Point source, contrasts with nonpoint source * Nonpoint source pollution, water pollution * Nonpoint source water pollution re ...

nonpoint source
s such as agricultural
runoff Runoff, run-off or RUNOFF may refer to: * RUNOFF Runoff, run-off or RUNOFF may refer to: * RUNOFF, the first computer text-formatting program * Runoff or run-off, another name for bleed (printing), bleed, printing that lies beyond the edges to wh ...
, wind-blown
debris Debris (, ) is rubble Rubble is broken , of irregular size, shape and texture; undressed especially as a filling-in. Rubble naturally found in the soil is known also as 'brash' (compare )."Rubble" def. 2., "Brash n. 2. def. 1. ''Oxford Engli ...
, and dust. These nonpoint sources are largely due to runoff that enters the ocean through rivers, but wind-blown
debris Debris (, ) is rubble Rubble is broken , of irregular size, shape and texture; undressed especially as a filling-in. Rubble naturally found in the soil is known also as 'brash' (compare )."Rubble" def. 2., "Brash n. 2. def. 1. ''Oxford Engli ...
and dust can also play a role, as these pollutants can settle into waterways and oceans. Pathways of pollution include direct discharge, land runoff,
ship pollution The environmental impact of shipping includes air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of ...
, atmospheric pollution and, potentially,
deep sea mining Deep sea mining is a growing subfield of experimental seabed mining that involves the retrieval of minerals and deposits from the ocean floor found at depths of 200 meters or greater. Presently, the majority of marine mining efforts are limited to ...
. The types of marine pollution can be grouped as pollution from
marine debris Marine debris, also known as marine litter, is human-created waste that has deliberately or accidentally been released in a sea or ocean. Floating oceanic debris tends to accumulate at the center of gyres and on coastlines, frequently washing a ...

marine debris
,
plastic pollution Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects and particles (e.g. plastic bottles, Plastic shopping bag, bags and microbeads) in the Earth's environment (biophysical), environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, a ...
, including
microplastics Microplastics are fragments of any type of plastic less than in length, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the European Chemicals Agency. They cause pollution by entering natural ecosystems from a va ...

microplastics
,
ocean acidification Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in the pH value of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of cont ...
,
nutrient pollution Nutrient pollution, a form of water pollution Water pollution (or aquatic pollution) is the contamination of water bodies ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the King ...
, toxins and underwater noise. Plastic pollution in the ocean is a type of marine pollution by
plastics Plastics are a wide range of syntheticA synthetic is an artificial material produced by organic chemistry, organic chemical synthesis. Synthetic may also refer to: In the sense of both "combination" and "artificial" * Synthetic chemical or s ...
, ranging in size from large original material such as bottles and bags, down to
microplastics Microplastics are fragments of any type of plastic less than in length, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the European Chemicals Agency. They cause pollution by entering natural ecosystems from a va ...

microplastics
formed from the fragmentation of plastic material. Marine debris is mainly discarded human rubbish which floats on, or is suspended in the ocean. Plastic pollution is harmful to
marine life Marine life, sea life, or ocean life is the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, thr ...

marine life
. Another concern is the runoff of
nutrient A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, anything that has mass and t ...
s (nitrogen and phosphorus) from
intensive agriculture Intensive agriculture, also known as intensive farming (as opposed to extensive farming Extensive farming or extensive agriculture (as opposed to intensive farming) is an agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultiv ...
, and the disposal of untreated or partially treated
sewage Sewage (or domestic sewage, domestic wastewater, municipal wastewater) is a type of wastewater Wastewater is generated after the use of fresh water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and n ...
to rivers and subsequently oceans. These
nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science ...

nitrogen
and
phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol P and atomic number 15. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms, white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but because it is highly Reactivity (chemistry), reactive, phosphor ...

phosphorus
nutrients (which are also contained in
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American E ...

fertilizer
s) stimulate
phytoplankton Phytoplankton () are the autotrophic An autotroph or primary producer is an organism that produces complex organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compoun ...

phytoplankton
and macroalgal growth, which can lead to harmful algal blooms (
eutrophication Eutrophication (from Greek ''eutrophos'', "well-nourished") is the process by which an entire body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmå ...

eutrophication
) which can be harmful to humans as well as marine creatures. Excessive algal growth can also smother sensitive
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
s and lead to
loss of biodiversity Biodiversity loss includes the extinction of species worldwide, as well as the local reduction or loss of species in a certain habitat, resulting in a loss of biological diversity. The latter phenomenon can be temporary or permanent, depending on w ...
and coral health. A second major concern is that the degradation of algal blooms can lead to consumption of
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

oxygen
in coastal waters, a situation that may worsen with
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
as warming reduces vertical mixing of the water column. Many potentially toxic chemicals adhere to tiny particles which are then taken up by
plankton Plankton are the diverse collection of organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by tax ...

plankton
and
benthic animals
benthic animals
, most of which are either
deposit feeders are soil-dwelling detritivores. Detritivores (also known as detrivores, detritophages, detritus feeders, or detritus eaters) are heterotroph A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used ...
s or
filter feeder Filter feeders are a sub-group of suspension feeding animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consu ...
s. In this way, the toxins are
concentrated upward
concentrated upward
within ocean
food chain A food chain is a linear network of links in a food web A food web is the natural interconnection of food chains and a graphical representation of what-eats-what in an ecological community. Another name for food web is Consumer-resource sy ...

food chain
s. When pesticides are incorporated into the
marine ecosystem Marine ecosystems are the largest of Earth's aquatic ecosystems and exist in Saline water, waters that have a high salt content. These systems contrast with freshwater ecosystems, which have a lower salt content. Marine waters cover more than 70% ...
, they quickly become absorbed into marine
food web A food web is the natural interconnection of food chains and a graphical representation of what-eats-what in an ecological community. Another name for food web is Consumer-resource systems, consumer-resource system. Ecologists can broadly lump a ...

food web
s. Once in the food webs, these pesticides can cause
mutation In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechan ...
s, as well as diseases, which can be harmful to humans as well as the entire food web.
Toxic metal Metal toxicity or metal poisoning is the toxic effect of certain metals in certain forms and doses on life. Some metals are toxic when they form poisonous soluble compounds. Certain metals have no biological role, i.e. are not essential minerals, or ...
s can also be introduced into marine food webs. These can cause a change to tissue matter, biochemistry, behavior, reproduction, and suppress growth in marine life. Also, many animal feeds have a high
fish meal Fish meal is a commercial product made from whole wild-caught fish, bycatch and fish by-products to animal feed, feed farm animals, e.g., pigs, poultry, and farmed fish.R. D. Miles and F. A. Chapman.FA122: The Benefits of Fish Meal in Aquaculture Di ...
or fish hydrolysate content. In this way, marine toxins can be transferred to land animals, and appear later in meat and dairy products.


Pathways of pollution

There are many ways to categorize and examine the inputs of pollution into marine ecosystems. There are three main types of inputs of pollution into the ocean: direct discharge of waste into the oceans, runoff into the waters due to rain, and pollutants released from the atmosphere. One common path of entry by
contaminant Contamination is the presence of a constituent, impurity Impurities are chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by ...
s to the sea are rivers. The evaporation of water from oceans exceeds precipitation. The balance is restored by rain over the continents entering rivers and then being returned to the sea. The
Hudson Hudson may refer to: People * Hudson (given name) * Hudson (surname) Places Argentina * Hudson, Buenos Aires Province, a town in Berazategui Partido Australia * Hudson, Queensland, a locality in the Cassowardy Coast Region Canada * H ...

Hudson
in
New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Col ...
and the Raritan in
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ea ...
, which empty at the northern and southern ends of
Staten Island Staten Island () is a borough A borough is an administrative division in various English language, English-speaking countries. In principle, the term ''borough'' designates a self-governing walled town, although in practice, official use o ...

Staten Island
, are a source of
mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

mercury
contamination of
zooplankton Zooplankton (; ) are heterotroph A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often ro ...

zooplankton
(
copepod Copepods (; meaning "oar-feet") are a group of small crustaceans found in nearly every freshwater and saltwater habitat (ecology), habitat. Some species are planktonic (inhabiting sea waters), some are benthos, benthic (living on the ocean floor), ...

copepod
s) in the open ocean. The highest concentration in the filter-feeding
copepod Copepods (; meaning "oar-feet") are a group of small crustaceans found in nearly every freshwater and saltwater habitat (ecology), habitat. Some species are planktonic (inhabiting sea waters), some are benthos, benthic (living on the ocean floor), ...

copepod
s is not at the mouths of these rivers but south, nearer
Atlantic City Atlantic City, often known by its initials A.C., is a coastal Resort town, resort city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, known for its casinos, Boardwalk (entertainment district), boardwalk, and beache ...
, because water flows close to the coast. It takes a few days before toxins are taken up by the
plankton Plankton are the diverse collection of organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by tax ...

plankton
. Pollution is often classed as
point source A point source is a single identifiable ''localised'' source of something. A point source has negligible extent, distinguishing it from other source geometries. Sources are called point sources because in mathematical modeling, these sources can us ...
or
nonpoint source pollution Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution refers to diffuse contamination Contamination is the presence of a constituent, impurity, or some other undesirable element that spoils, corrupts, infects, makes unfit, or makes inferior a material, physical body ...

nonpoint source pollution
. Point source pollution occurs when there is a single, identifiable, localized source of the pollution. An example is directly discharging sewage and industrial waste into the ocean. Pollution such as this occurs particularly in
developing nations 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A developing country is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, ...
.
Nonpoint source pollution Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution refers to diffuse contamination Contamination is the presence of a constituent, impurity, or some other undesirable element that spoils, corrupts, infects, makes unfit, or makes inferior a material, physical body ...

Nonpoint source pollution
occurs when the pollution is from ill-defined and diffuse sources. These can be difficult to regulate. Agricultural
runoff Runoff, run-off or RUNOFF may refer to: * RUNOFF Runoff, run-off or RUNOFF may refer to: * RUNOFF, the first computer text-formatting program * Runoff or run-off, another name for bleed (printing), bleed, printing that lies beyond the edges to wh ...
and wind blown
debris Debris (, ) is rubble Rubble is broken , of irregular size, shape and texture; undressed especially as a filling-in. Rubble naturally found in the soil is known also as 'brash' (compare )."Rubble" def. 2., "Brash n. 2. def. 1. ''Oxford Engli ...
are prime examples.


Direct discharge

Pollutants enter rivers and the sea directly from urban
sewerage Sewerage (or sewage system) is the infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the service ...
and
industrial waste Industrial waste is the waste produced by industrial activity which includes any material that is rendered useless during a manufacturing process such as that of factories A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial ...
discharges, sometimes in the form of
hazardous A hazard is a potential source of harm. Substances, events, or circumstances can constitute hazards when their nature would allow them, even just theoretically, to cause damage to health, life, property, or any other interest of value. The probabil ...
and
toxic waste Toxic waste is any unwanted material in all forms that can cause harm (e.g. by being inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin). Many of today's household products such as televisions, computers and phones contain toxic chemicals that c ...
s, or in the form of plastics. In a study published by ''
Science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...
'', Jambeck ''et al.'' (2015) estimated that the 10 largest emitters of oceanic plastic pollution worldwide are, from the most to the least, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Bangladesh. Inland
mining Mining is the extraction of valuable mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occu ...

mining
for copper, gold, etc., is another source of marine pollution. Most of the pollution is simply soil, which ends up in rivers flowing to the sea. However, some minerals discharged in the course of the mining can cause problems, such as
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
, a common industrial pollutant, which can interfere with the life history and development of coral polyps. Mining has a poor environmental track record. For example, according to the
United States Environmental Protection Agency The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent executive agency of the United States federal government tasked with environmental protection matters. President Richard Nixon pro ...
, mining has contaminated portions of the headwaters of over 40% of watersheds in the western continental US. Much of this pollution finishes up in the sea.


Land runoff

Surface runoff Surface runoff (also known as overland flow) is the flow of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it ac ...
from farming, as well as
urban runoff Urban runoff is surface runoff Surface runoff (also known as overland flow) is the flow of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the ma ...
and runoff from the construction of roads, buildings, ports, channels, and harbours, can carry soil and
particles In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physical property, physical or chemical , chemical properties ...
laden with carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and minerals. This nutrient-rich water can cause fleshy algae and
phytoplankton Phytoplankton () are the autotrophic An autotroph or primary producer is an organism that produces complex organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compoun ...

phytoplankton
to thrive in coastal areas; known as algal blooms, which have the potential to create hypoxic conditions by using all available oxygen. In the coast of southwest Florida, harmful algal blooms have existed for over 100 years. These algal blooms have been a cause of species of fish, turtles, dolphins, and shrimp to die and cause harmful effects on humans who swim in the water. Polluted runoff from roads and highways can be a significant source of water pollution in coastal areas. About 75% of the toxic chemicals that flow into
Puget Sound Puget Sound () is a of the , an inlet of the , and part of the . It is located along the northwestern coast of the of . It is a complex system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and two minor connections to the ope ...
are carried by
stormwater Stormwater, also spelled storm water, is water that originates from rain, including snow and ice melt Meltwater is water released by the melting of snow or ice, including glaciers, glacial ice, tabular icebergs and ice shelf, ice shelves over ...
that runs off paved roads and driveways, rooftops, yards and other developed land. In California, there are many rainstorms that runoff into the ocean. These rainstorms occur from October to March, and these runoff waters contain petroleum, heavy metals, pollutants from emissions, etc. In China, there is a large coastal population that pollutes the ocean through land runoff. This includes sewage discharge and pollution from
urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographi ...
and land use. In 2001, more than 66,795 mi2 of the Chinese coastal ocean waters were rated less than Class I of the Sea Water Quality Standard of China. Much of this pollution came from Ag, Cu, Cd, Pb, As, DDT, PCBs, etc., which occurred from contamination through land runoff.


Ship pollution

Ships can pollute waterways and oceans in many ways.
Oil spill An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum ...
s can have devastating effects. While being toxic to marine life,
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon A polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) is a hydrocarbon In , a hydrocarbon is an consisting entirely of and . Hydrocarbons are examples of s. Hydrocarbons are generally colourless and hydrophobic with only weak odours. Because of their diver ...
s (PAHs), found in
crude oil Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the mechanics Mech ...
, are very difficult to clean up, and last for years in the
sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently sediment transport, transported by the action of wind, water, or ice or by the force of gravity acting on the particles. ...

sediment
and marine environment. Oil spills are probably the most emotive of marine pollution events. However, while a tanker wreck may result in extensive newspaper headlines, much of the oil in the world's seas comes from other smaller sources, such as tankers discharging ballast water from oil tanks used on return ships, leaking pipelines or engine oil disposed of down sewers. Discharge of cargo residues from
bulk carrier A bulk carrier, bulker is a merchant ship A merchant ship, merchant vessel, trading vessel, or merchantman is a watercraft that transports cargo or carries passengers for hire. This is in contrast to pleasure craft, which are used for pers ...
s can pollute ports, waterways, and oceans. In many instances vessels intentionally discharge illegal wastes despite foreign and domestic regulation prohibiting such actions. An absence of national standards provides an incentive for some
cruise liner Cruise ships are large passenger ships used mainly for vacationing. Unlike ocean liners, which are used for transport, they typically embark on round-trip voyages to various ports-of-call, where passengers may go on Tourism, tours known as "sho ...
s to dump waste in places where the penalties are inadequate. It has been estimated that
container ship A container ship (also called boxship or spelled containership) is a cargo ship A cargo ship or freighter is a merchant ship that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas an ...

container ship
s lose over 10,000
containers A container is any receptacle or enclosure for holding a product used in storage, packaging Packaging is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, b ...

containers
at sea each year (usually during storms). Ships also create
noise pollution Noise pollution, also known as environmental noise Environmental noise is an accumulation of noise pollution that occurs outside. This noise can be caused by transport, industrial, and Sport, recreational activities. Noise is frequently desc ...
that disturbs natural wildlife, and water from
ballast Ballast is material that is used to provide stability to a vehicle or structure. Ballast, other than cargo In economics, the word cargo refers in particular to goods or produce being conveyed—generally for Commerce, commercial gain—by ...
tanks can spread harmful
algae Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Co ...

algae
and other
invasive species An invasive species is an introduced organism that becomes overpopulated and negatively alters its new environment. Although their spread can have beneficial aspects, invasive species adversely affect the invaded habitat Ibex in an ...
.Meinesz, A. (2003
Deep Sea Invasion: The Impact of Invasive Species
PBS: NOVA. Retrieved 26 November 2009
Ballast water Ballast is used in ships to provide moment to resist the lateral forces on the hull. Insufficiently ballasted boats tend to tip or heel excessively in high winds. Too much heel may result in the boat/ship capsizing. If a sailing vessel should nee ...
taken up at sea and released in port is a major source of unwanted exotic marine life. The
invasive Invasive may refer to: *Invasive (medical) procedure *Invasive species *Invasive observation, especially in reference to surveillance *Invasively progressive spread of disease from one organ in the body to another, especially in reference to cancer, ...
freshwater zebra mussels, native to the Black, Caspian, and Azov seas, were probably transported to the Great Lakes via ballast water from a transoceanic vessel. Meinesz believes that one of the worst cases of a single invasive species causing harm to an ecosystem can be attributed to a seemingly harmless
jellyfish Jellyfish and sea jellies are the informal common names given to the medusa-phase of certain gelatinous members of the subphylum In zoological nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted Con ...

jellyfish
. ''
Mnemiopsis leidyi ''Mnemiopsis leidyi'', the warty comb jelly or sea walnut, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is ...

Mnemiopsis leidyi
'', a species of comb jellyfish that spread so it now inhabits estuaries in many parts of the world, was first introduced in 1982, and thought to have been transported to the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
in a ship's ballast water. The population of the jellyfish grew exponentially and, by 1988, it was wreaking havoc upon the local
fishing industry The fishing industry includes any industry or activity concerned with taking, culturing, processing, preserving, storing, transporting, marketing or selling fish or fish products. It is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization The F ...
. "The
anchovy An anchovy is a small, common forage fish Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small pelagic fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocea ...
catch fell from 204,000 tons in 1984 to 200 tons in 1993;
sprat Sprat is the common name applied to a group of forage fish belonging to the genus ''Sprattus'' in the Family (biology), family Clupeidae. The term also is applied to a number of other small sprat-like forage fish (''Clupeoides'', ''Clupeonella ...
from 24,600 tons in 1984 to 12,000 tons in 1993; horse
mackerel Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish Pelagic fish live in the pelagic zone The pelagic zone consists of the water column A water column is a Concept, conceptual column of water from the ...

mackerel
from 4,000 tons in 1984 to zero in 1993." Now that the jellyfish have exhausted the
zooplankton Zooplankton (; ) are heterotroph A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often ro ...

zooplankton
, including fish larvae, their numbers have fallen dramatically, yet they continue to maintain a stranglehold on the
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
.
Invasive species An invasive species is an introduced organism that becomes overpopulated and negatively alters its new environment. Although their spread can have beneficial aspects, invasive species adversely affect the invaded habitat Ibex in an ...
can take over once occupied areas, facilitate the spread of new diseases, introduce new material, alter underwater seascapes, and jeopardize the ability of
native species In , a native species is indigenous to a given region or if its presence in that region is the result of only local natural evolution (though often popularised as "with no human intervention"CEQ (1999))/ref> The term is equivalent to the concept ...
to obtain food. Invasive species are responsible for about $138 billion annually in lost revenue and management costs in the US alone.


Atmospheric pollution

Another pathway of pollution occurs through the atmosphere. Wind-blown dust and debris, including
plastic bag A plastic bag, poly bag, or pouch is a type of container made of thin, flexible, plastic film Plastic film is a thin continuous polymeric material. Thicker plastic material is often called a "sheet". These thin plastic membranes are used ...
s, are blown seaward from
landfill A landfill site, also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump, or dumping ground, is a site for the disposal of waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primar ...

landfill
s and other areas. Dust from the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landma ...

Sahara
moving around the southern periphery of the
subtropical ridge The horse latitudes are the latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...
moves into the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
and
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
during the warm season as the ridge builds and moves northward through the subtropical Atlantic. Dust can also be attributed to a global transport from the
Gobi The Gobi Desert () is a large desert or brushland region in East Asia. It covers parts of North China, Northern and Northeast China, Northeastern China and of Southern Mongolia. The desert basins of the Gobi are bounded by the Altai Mountains ...

Gobi
and
Taklamakan The Taklamakan Desert (; zh, s=, p=Tǎkèlāmǎgān Shāmò, Xiao'erjing: , dng, Такәламаган Шамә; ug, تەكلىماكان قۇملۇقى; also spelled Taklimakan and Teklimakan) is a desert in Southwest Xinjiang in Northwest ...

Taklamakan
deserts across
Korea Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korea
,
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
, and the Northern
Pacific The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific
to the
Hawaiian Islands The Hawaiian Islands ( haw, Mokupuni o Hawai‘i) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated pie ...
. Since 1970, dust outbreaks have worsened due to periods of drought in Africa. There is a large variability in dust transport to the Caribbean and Florida from year to year; however, the flux is greater during positive phases of the
North Atlantic Oscillation#REDIRECT North Atlantic oscillation {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
. The USGS links dust events to a decline in the health of coral reefs across the Caribbean and Florida, primarily since the 1970s. Climate change is raising ocean temperatures and raising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These rising levels of carbon dioxide are acidifying the oceans. This, in turn, is altering
aquatic ecosystem An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in a body of water. Biocoenosis, Communities of biota (ecology), organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are ma ...

aquatic ecosystem
s and modifying fish distributions, with impacts on the
sustainability of fisheries A conventional idea of a sustainable fishery is that it is one that is harvested at a sustainable rate, where the fish population does not decline over time because of fishing practices. Sustainability in fisheries combines theoretical disciplines ...
and the livelihoods of the communities that depend on them. Healthy ocean ecosystems are also important for the mitigation of climate change.


Deep sea mining


Types of pollution


Marine debris pollution


Plastic pollution


Ocean acidification


Nutrient pollution

Eutrophication Eutrophication (from Greek ''eutrophos'', "well-nourished") is the process by which an entire body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokm ...

Eutrophication
is an increase in chemical
nutrient A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, anything that has mass and t ...
s, typically compounds containing
nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science ...

nitrogen
or
phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol P and atomic number 15. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms, white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but because it is highly Reactivity (chemistry), reactive, phosphor ...

phosphorus
, in an
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
. It can result in an increase in the ecosystem's
primary productivity In ecology, primary production is the synthesis of organic compounds from atmospheric or aqueous carbon dioxide. It principally occurs through the process of photosynthesis, which uses light as its source of energy, but it also occurs through ...
(excessive plant growth and decay), and further effects including lack of oxygen and severe reductions in water quality, fish, and other animal populations.
Nutrient pollution Nutrient pollution, a form of water pollution Water pollution (or aquatic pollution) is the contamination of water bodies ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Ki ...
, a form of
water pollution Water pollution (or aquatic pollution) is the contamination of water bodies ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...

water pollution
, refers to contamination by excessive inputs of nutrients. It is a primary cause of eutrophication of surface waters, in which excess nutrients, usually
nitrate Nitrate is a polyatomic ion A polyatomic ion, also known as a molecular ion, is a covalently bonded A covalent bond is a chemical bond A chemical bond is a lasting attraction between atoms, ions or molecules that enables the format ...

nitrate
s or
phosphate In chemistry, a phosphate is an anion, salt (chemistry), salt, functional group or ester derived from a phosphoric acids and phosphates, phosphoric acid. It most commonly means orthophosphate, a derivative of phosphoric acid, orthophosphoric a ...

phosphate
s, stimulate algae growth. Such blooms are naturally occurring but may be increasing as a result of anthropogenic inputs or alternatively may be something that is now more closely monitored and so more frequently reported. The biggest culprit are rivers that empty into the ocean, and with it the many chemicals used as
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American E ...

fertilizer
s in agriculture as well as waste from
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictabl ...
and
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...

human
s. An excess of oxygen-depleting chemicals in the water can lead to hypoxia and the creation of a dead zone.Gerlach, S. A. (1975) ''Marine Pollution'', Springer, Berlin
Estuaries An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water Brackish water, also sometimes termed brack water, is water occurring in a natural environment having more salinity File:IAPSO Standard Seawater.jpg, upInternational Associatio ...

Estuaries
tend to be naturally eutrophic because land-derived nutrients are concentrated where
runoff Runoff, run-off or RUNOFF may refer to: * RUNOFF Runoff, run-off or RUNOFF may refer to: * RUNOFF, the first computer text-formatting program * Runoff or run-off, another name for bleed (printing), bleed, printing that lies beyond the edges to wh ...
enters the marine environment in a confined channel. The
World Resources Institute The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research non-profit organization established in 1982 with funding from the MacArthur Foundation The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private foundation A private foundation i ...
has identified 375 hypoxic coastal zones around the world, concentrated in coastal areas in Western Europe, the Eastern and Southern coasts of the US, and East Asia, particularly in Japan. In the ocean, there are frequent
red tide A red tide is a phenomenon of discoloration of sea surface. It is a common name for Harmful algal bloom, harmful algal blooms occurring along coastal regions, which result from large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms, such as protozoans a ...

red tide
algae blooms that kill fish and marine mammals and cause respiratory problems in humans and some domestic animals when the blooms reach close to shore. In addition to land runoff, atmospheric
anthropogenic Anthropogenic ("human" + "generating") is an adjective that may refer to: * Anthropogeny, the study of the origins of humanity Counterintuitively, anthropogenic may also refer to things that have been generated by humans, as follows: * Human im ...
fixed nitrogen can enter the open ocean. A study in 2008 found that this could account for around one third of the ocean's external (non-recycled) nitrogen supply and up to three per cent of the annual new marine biological production. It has been suggested that accumulating reactive nitrogen in the environment may have consequences as serious as putting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. One proposed solution to eutrophication in estuaries is to restore shellfish populations, such as oysters.
Oyster Oyster is the common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is someti ...

Oyster
reefs remove nitrogen from the water column and filter out suspended solids, subsequently reducing the likelihood or extent of
harmful algal bloom A harmful algal bloom (HAB) contains organisms (usually algae Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transform ...
s or anoxic conditions. Filter feeding activity is considered beneficial to water quality by controlling phytoplankton density and sequestering nutrients, which can be removed from the system through shellfish harvest, buried in the sediments, or lost through
denitrification Denitrification is a microbially facilitated process where nitrate (NO3−) is reduced and ultimately produces molecular nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic tab ...
. Foundational work toward the idea of improving marine water quality through shellfish cultivation to was conducted by Odd Lindahl et al., using
mussel Mussel () is the common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is som ...

mussel
s in Sweden.


Toxins

Apart from plastics, there are particular problems with other
toxin A toxin is a harmful substance produced within living cells or organisms; synthetic toxicants created by artificial processes are thus excluded. The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger (1849–1919), derived from the word toxic ...
s that do not disintegrate rapidly in the marine environment. Examples of persistent toxins are
PCBs A polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) is an organochloride, organic chlorine compound with the formula Carbon, C12Hydrogen, H10−''x''Chloride, Cl''x''. Polychlorinated biphenyls were once widely deployed as dielectric and coolant fluids in electri ...
,
DDT Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly known as DDT, is a colorless, tasteless, and almost odorless crystalline A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others bein ...

DDT
, ,
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s,
furan Furan is a heterocyclic 125px, Pyridine, a heterocyclic compound A heterocyclic compound or ring structure is a cyclic compound that has atoms of at least two different chemical element, elements as members of its ring(s). Heterocyclic chemis ...

furan
s,
dioxins Dioxin may refer to: * 1,2-Dioxin or 1,4-Dioxin 1,4-Dioxin (also referred as dioxin or ''p''-dioxin) is a heterocyclic 125px, Pyridine, a heterocyclic compound A heterocyclic compound or ring structure is a cyclic compound that has atoms of ...
,
phenols In organic chemistry Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, prope ...
, and
radioactive waste Radioactive waste is a type of hazardous waste Hazardous waste is waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. A by-pro ...
.
Heavy metals upright=1.2, Crystals of osmium, a heavy metal nearly twice as dense as lead">lead.html" ;"title="osmium, a heavy metal nearly twice as dense as lead">osmium, a heavy metal nearly twice as dense as lead Heavy metals are generally defined as ...
are metallic chemical elements that have a relatively high density and are toxic or poisonous at low concentrations. Examples are
mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

mercury
,
lead Lead is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements ...

lead
,
nickel Nickel is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

nickel
,
arsenic Arsenic is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same num ...

arsenic
, and
cadmium Cadmium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical eleme ...

cadmium
. Such toxins can accumulate in the tissues of many species of aquatic life in a process called
bioaccumulationBioaccumulation is the gradual accumulation of substances, such as pesticides or other chemicals, in an organism. Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism absorbs a substance at a rate faster than that at which the substance is lost or eliminated by ...
. They are also known to accumulate in benthic environments, such as
estuaries An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water Brackish water, also sometimes termed brack water, is water occurring in a natural environment having more salinity File:IAPSO Standard Seawater.jpg, upInternational Associatio ...

estuaries
and
bay mud Bay mud consists of thick deposits of soft, unconsolidated silty clay, which is saturated with water; these soil layers are situated at the bottom of certain estuary, estuaries, which are normally in temperate regions that have experienced cyclica ...
s: a geological record of human activities of the last century. ;Specific examples: *Chinese and Russian industrial pollution such as
phenols In organic chemistry Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, prope ...
and heavy metals in the
Amur River The Amur (russian: река́ Аму́р, ), or Heilong Jiang (, "Black Dragon A dragon is a large, serpent Serpent or The Serpent may refer to: * Snake Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpen ...

Amur River
have devastated fish stocks and damaged its
estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed Coast, coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime envir ...

estuary
soil. *Acute and chronic
pollution Pollution is the introduction of contaminant Contamination is the presence of a constituent, impurity, or some other undesirable element that spoils, corrupts, infects, makes unfit, or makes inferior a material, physical body, natural en ...

pollution
events have been shown to impact southern California kelp forests, though the intensity of the impact seems to depend on both the nature of the contaminants and duration of exposure. *Due to their high position in the
food chain A food chain is a linear network of links in a food web A food web is the natural interconnection of food chains and a graphical representation of what-eats-what in an ecological community. Another name for food web is Consumer-resource sy ...

food chain
and the subsequent accumulation of
heavy metals upright=1.2, Crystals of osmium, a heavy metal nearly twice as dense as lead">lead.html" ;"title="osmium, a heavy metal nearly twice as dense as lead">osmium, a heavy metal nearly twice as dense as lead Heavy metals are generally defined as ...
from their diet,
mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

mercury
levels can be high in larger species such as bluefin and
albacore The albacore (''Thunnus alalunga''), known also as the longfin tuna, is a species of tuna A tuna is a saltwater fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatom ...
. As a result, in March 2004 the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
FDA The United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Wash ...
issued guidelines recommending that pregnant women, nursing mothers and children limit their intake of tuna and other types of predatory fish. *Some shellfish and crabs can survive polluted environments, accumulating heavy metals or toxins in their tissues. For example,
mitten crab The Chinese mitten crab ('; ,  "big sluice crab"), also known as the Shanghai hairy crab (, pinyin, p ''Shànghǎi máoxiè''), is a medium-sized burrowing crab that is named for its furry claws, which resemble mittens. It is native to ...
s have a remarkable ability to survive in highly modified aquatic habitats, including polluted waters. The farming and harvesting of such species needs careful management if they are to be used as a food. *Surface runoff of pesticides can alter the gender of fish species genetically, transforming male into female fish. *Heavy metals enter the environment through
oil spill An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum ...
s – such as the
Prestige oil spill The ''Prestige'' oil spill occurred off the coast of Galicia (Spain), Galicia, Spain, caused by the sinking of the 26 year old structurally deficient oil tanker in November 2002, carrying 77,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. During a storm, it burs ...
on the
GalicianGalician may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Galicia (Spain) ** Galician language ** Galician people ** Gallaeci, a large Celtic tribal federation who inhabited Gallaecia (currently Galicia (Spain) * Something of, from, or related to ...
coast and Gulf of Mexico which unleashed an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil – or from other natural or . *In 2005, the
'Ndrangheta The 'Ndrangheta (, , ) is a prominent -type and based in the peninsular and mountainous region of and dating back to the late 18th century. It is considered to be among the most powerful organized crime groups in the world.Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
mafia syndicate, was accused of sinking at least 30 ships loaded with toxic waste, much of it radioactive. This has led to widespread investigations into Ocean disposal of radioactive waste, radioactive waste disposal rackets.Bocca, Riccardo (5 August 2005
Parla un boss: Così lo Stato pagava la 'ndrangheta per smaltire i rifiuti tossici
''L'Espresso''
*Since the end of World War II, various nations, including the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany, have disposed of chemical weapons in the Baltic Sea, raising concerns of environmental contamination. *The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 caused radioactive toxins from the damaged power plant to leak into the air and ocean. There are still many isotopes in the ocean, which directly affects the benthic food web and also affects the whole food chain. The concentration of 137Cs in the bottom sediment that was contaminated by water with high concentrations in April–May 2011 remains quite high and is showing signs of very slow decrease with time.


Underwater noise

Marine life can be susceptible to noise or the sound pollution from sources such as passing ships, oil exploration seismic surveys, and naval low-frequency active sonar. Sound travels more rapidly and over larger distances in the sea than in the atmosphere. Marine animals, such as cetaceans, often have weak eyesight, and live in a world largely defined by acoustic information. This applies also to many deeper sea fish, who live in a world of darkness. Between 1950 and 1975, ambient noise at one location in the Pacific Ocean increased by about ten decibels (that is a tenfold increase in intensity). Noise also makes species communicate louder, which is called the Lombard vocal response. Whale songs are longer when submarine-detectors are on. If creatures don't "speak" loud enough, their voice can be masked by anthropogenic hazard, anthropogenic sounds. These unheard voices might be warnings, finding of prey, or preparations of net-bubbling. When one species begins speaking louder, it will mask other species voices, causing the whole ecosystem to eventually speak louder. According to the oceanographer Sylvia Earle, "Undersea noise pollution is like the death of a thousand cuts. Each sound in itself may not be a matter of critical concern, but taken all together, the noise from shipping, seismic surveys, and military activity is creating a totally different environment than existed even 50 years ago. That high level of noise is bound to have a hard, sweeping impact on life in the sea." Noise from ships and human activity can damage Cnidarians and Ctenophora, which are very important organisms in the marine ecosystem. They promote high diversity and they are used as models for ecology and biology because of their simple structures. When there is underwater noise, the vibrations in the water damage the cilia hairs in the Coelenterates. In a study, the organisms were exposed to sound waves for different numbers of times and the results showed that damaged hair cells were extruded or missing or presented bent, flaccid or missed kinocilia and stereocilia. Ships can be certified to meet certain noise criteria.


Other

There are a variety of secondary effects stemming not from the original pollutant, but a derivative condition. An example is silt-bearing surface runoff, which can inhibit the penetration of sunlight through the water column, hampering photosynthesis in aquatic plants.


Mitigation

Much anthropogenic hazard, anthropogenic
pollution Pollution is the introduction of contaminant Contamination is the presence of a constituent, impurity, or some other undesirable element that spoils, corrupts, infects, makes unfit, or makes inferior a material, physical body, natural en ...

pollution
ends up in the ocean. The 2011 edition of the United Nations Environment Programme Year Book identifies as the main emerging environmental issues the loss to the oceans of massive amounts of
phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol P and atomic number 15. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms, white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but because it is highly Reactivity (chemistry), reactive, phosphor ...

phosphorus
, "a valuable fertilizer needed to feed a growing global population", and the impact billions of pieces of plastic waste are having globally on the health of marine environments. Bjorn Jennssen (2003) notes in his article, "Anthropogenic pollution may reduce biodiversity and productivity of marine ecosystems, resulting in reduction and depletion of human marine food resources". There are two ways the overall level of this pollution can be mitigated: either the human population is reduced, or a way is found to reduce the ecological footprint left behind by the average human. If the second way is not adopted, then the first way may be imposed as the world
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
s falter. The second way is for humans, individually, to pollute less. That requires social and political will, together with a shift in awareness so more people respect the environment and are less disposed to abuse it. At an operational level, regulations, and international government participation is needed. It is often very difficult to regulate marine pollution because pollution spreads over international barriers, thus making regulations hard to create as well as enforce. Without appropriate awareness of marine pollution, the necessary global will to effectively address the issues may prove inadequate. Balanced information on the sources and harmful effects of marine pollution need to become part of general public awareness, and ongoing research is required to fully establish, and keep current, the scope of the issues. As expressed in Daoji and Dag's research, one of the reasons why environmental concern is lacking among the Chinese is because the public awareness is low and therefore should be targeted. The amount of awareness on marine pollution is vital to the support of keeping the prevention of trash from entering waterways and ending up in our oceans. The EPA reports that in 2014 Americans generated about 258 million tons of waste, and only a third was recycled or composted. In 2015, there was over 8 million tons of plastic that made it into the ocean. The Ocean Conservancy reported that China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam dump more plastic in the sea than all other countries combined. Through more sustainable packing this could lead to; eliminating toxic constituents, using fewer materials, making more readily available recyclable plastic. However, awareness can only take these initiatives so far. The most abundant plastic is PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) and is the most resistant to biodegradables. Researchers have been making great strides in combating this problem. In one way has been by adding a special polymer called a tetrablock copolymer. The tetrablock copolymer acts as a laminate between the PE and iPP which enables for an easier breakdown but still be tough. Through more awareness, individuals will become more cognizant of their carbon footprints. Also, from research and technology, more strides can be made to aid in the plastic pollution problem. Jellyfish have been considered a potential mitigating organism for pollution.


Global goals

In 2017, the United Nations adopted a resolution establishing Sustainable Development Goals, including reduced marine pollution as a measured goal under Sustainable Development Goal 14, Goal 14. The international community has agreed that reducing pollution in the oceans is a priority, which is tracked as part of Sustainable Development Goal 14 which actively seeks to undo these human impacts on the oceans.United Nations (2017) Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, :File:A RES 71 313 E.pdf, Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
A/RES/71/313
The title of Target 14.1 is: "By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including
marine debris Marine debris, also known as marine litter, is human-created waste that has deliberately or accidentally been released in a sea or ocean. Floating oceanic debris tends to accumulate at the center of gyres and on coastlines, frequently washing a ...

marine debris
and
nutrient pollution Nutrient pollution, a form of water pollution Water pollution (or aquatic pollution) is the contamination of water bodies ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the King ...
."United Nations (2017) Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, :File:A RES 71 313 E.pdf, Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
A/RES/71/313


History

Although marine pollution has a long history, significant international laws to counter it were not enacted until the twentieth century. Marine pollution was a concern during several United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea beginning in the 1950s. Most scientists believed that the oceans were so vast that they had unlimited ability to dilute, and thus render pollution harmless. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, there were several controversies about dumping radioactive waste off the coasts of the United States by companies licensed by the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Atomic Energy Commission, into the Irish Sea from the British reprocessing facility at Windscale, and into the Mediterranean Sea by the French Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique. After the Mediterranean Sea controversy, for example, Jacques Cousteau became a worldwide figure in the campaign to stop marine pollution. Marine pollution made further international headlines after the 1967 crash of the oil tanker Torrey Canyon, and after the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill off the coast of California. Marine pollution was a major area of discussion during the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm. That year also saw the signing of the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, sometimes called the London Convention. The London Convention did not ban marine pollution, but it established black and gray lists for substances to be banned (black) or regulated by national authorities (gray). Cyanide and high-level radioactive waste, for example, were put on the black list. The London Convention applied only to waste dumped from ships, and thus did nothing to regulate waste discharged as liquids from pipelines.


Society and culture


Laws and policies

There are different ways for the ocean to get polluted, therefore there have been multiple laws, policies, and treaties put into place throughout history. In order to protect the ocean from marine pollution, policies have been developed internationally. * In 1948, Harry Truman signed a law formerly known as the Clean Water Act, Federal Water Pollution Control Act that allowed the federal government to control marine pollution in United States of America. * In 1972, the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 was passed by the Council on Environmental Quality which controls ocean dumping. * In 1973 and 1978, MARPOL 73/78 was a treaty written to control vessel pollution, especially regarding oil. In 1983, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships enforced the MARPOL 73/78 treaty internationally. * The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS) was established to protect the marine environment by governing states to control their pollution to the ocean. It put restrictions on the amount of toxins and pollutants that come from all ships internationally.


See also

*Aquatic toxicology *Environmental impact of pesticides *London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter *Marine debris *Mercury pollution in the ocean *National Cleanup Day *
Nutrient pollution Nutrient pollution, a form of water pollution Water pollution (or aquatic pollution) is the contamination of water bodies ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Ki ...
*Oil pollution toxicity to marine fish *Plastic pollution *Plastic soup *Ocean disposal of radioactive waste *Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants *Sea snot


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Marine Pollution Ocean pollution, Oceanographical terminology, Pollution Sanitation