Dear Mr. or Ms. President,
Yo dude, Earth is dying and it’s gonna take all life with it. Pollution is the killer, or maybe humans are? This pollution, more specifically, ocean pollution, is taking an increasingly huge toll on the health and population of oceans, seas, lakes, and the animals, and marine wildlife that need the water to live. But sadly, humans as well are being greatly impacted by the pollution in our water. But humans are also causing this pollution. The source of all ocean pollution is from humans and the stupid things we do. So my question to you is: are we, as humans, killing the Earth and all life that inhabits it?
Ocean pollution, or otherwise known as marine pollution and water pollution, is created when harmful, or potentially harmful, and poisonous contaminants, materials, and substances enter oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, streams, and other forms of naturally occurring water. The main pollutants found in our water include; oil, fertilizers, sewage, solid waste, toxic chemicals, and plastic. Most ocean pollution starts off on land. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “Over 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Most of the waste we produce on land eventually reaches the oceans, either through deliberate dumping or from run-off through drains and rivers” (WWF).
First let's talk about each main water pollutant, that I listed above, and the effects they have on our oceans, Earth, humans, and other living organisms and species.
Oil: Oil spills cause massive damage to marine life and the environment. Oil spills are responsible for about 12% of oil in the ocean. 36% of oil in oceans come down drains and rivers as waste and runoff from cities and industry. Also many vehicles drip oil that eventually makes its way into the ocean.
Fertilizer: After it rains, nutrient-rich fertilizers used on farms and lawns become runoff pollution. The fertilizer runoff ends up in local streams, rivers, and in groundwater. It eventually gets deposited in estuaries, bays, and deltas and then finally, the fertilizer runoff enters into our oceans and seas. Nutrient-rich fertilizers cause huge effective impacts on coastal ocean environments. The extra nutrients in the fertilizer sometimes creates eutrophication. Eutrophication is, “A flourishing of algal blooms that deplete the water's dissolved oxygen and suffocate other marine life” (WWF).
These massive algae blooms deplete the water around it of all oxygen, leaving areas where marine life can’t exist. These areas are called “Dead Zones”. There are enormous dead zones in several parts of the world, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Baltic Sea. “Scientists have counted some 400 dead zones around the world.” (National Geographic).
Sewage: Human sewage makes it’s way into our oceans and other forms of water. In many parts of the world, sewage flows untreated, or under treated, into the ocean. For example, “80% of urban sewage discharged into the Mediterranean Sea is untreated” (WWF).
Sewage can also lead to eutrophication. In addition, it can cause humans to get infected with many different diseases and sewage can pollute beaches and lead them to getting shut down for being unsafe for humans.
Solid Waste: Solid waste, or solid garbage, pollution makes its way into the ocean either by runoff, littering, or deliberate dumping. Examples of solid waste are plastic bags, balloons, glass bottles, shoes, packaging material, foam, and so on. If solid waste and other garbage isn’t disposed of correctly it will most likely end up in the ocean or any other water system. Almost everything we throw away has a high chance of reaching the water. Solid waste items dumped into the oceans from land or at sea are frequently consumed by marine life, often leading to fatal effects. Fish, and birds are big consumers of floating garbage that they mistake for food. Also another form of solid waste are discarded fishing nets that drift for years, ensnaring fish and marine mammals. In certain regions of the world, ocean currents gather trillions of waste items into gigantic, swirling garbage patches. According to National Geographic, there’s a garbage patch in the North Pacific, known as the Pacific Trash Vortex. This garbage patch is estimated to be the size of Texas. Solid waste can also wash back on to shores, where it can potentially pollute and cause unalterable effects beaches and other coastal habitats.
Toxic Chemicals: Toxic chemicals in our water is a huge environmental bio hazard. Almost every marine organism, from plankton to whales and polar bears, is contaminated with toxic chemicals, such as pesticides and chemicals used in common consumer products. Most chemicals enter the ocean through deliberate dumping by humans, but chemicals can also enter the sea from land-based activities. Toxic chemicals can travel by water, soil, and air during their manufacture, use, or disposal, as well as from accidental leaks or fires in products containing these chemicals. Once in the environment, they can travel for long distances in air and water, including ocean currents. “In 1969, chemical waste released into Ohio’s Cuyahoga River caused it to burst into flames” (history.com).
Plastic: Maybe one of the most notable, impacting, threatening, and devastating forms of water pollution. Plastic, compared to all the other forms, is a huge destroyer of Earth. Plastic is a highly manufactured material that every human uses in some way or another. Plastic is everywhere! So no wonder there’s overwhelming amounts of it with nowhere to go. If plastic isn’t properly disposed of, it will most definitely end up in the ocean some day. Most plastic pollution comes from land. It starts as litter on beaches, streets and sidewalks. Rain or over watering washes the litter through a storm drain system or directly into creeks, streams and rivers that lead right into the ocean. What makes it worse is that plastic never goes away. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, instead it photodegrades. This means that plastic very slowly breaks down, under exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays, into smaller and smaller pieces. “With the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated, virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form” (Surfrider).
In the ocean, plastic garbage is often mistaken for food by marine animals. Plastic water pollution has impaired the health and life of many marine species and other animals that rely on the ocean for substance. High concentrations of plastic material have been found blocking the breathing passages and stomachs of whales, dolphins, seals, puffins, and turtles. Plastic six-pack rings for drinks can also choke marine animals.
Earth is the home to so many different forms of life. All life uses Earth, all life shares Earth, all life needs Earth to survive, and Earth needs us as well. But, unfortunately, it’s humans that don’t won’t to share Earth or treat it nicely. A huge majority of humans are destroying entire ecosystems of life like it’s nothing. Some of them don’t even know it, some of them don't even care. As humans, were all very selfish and careless of what we're doing. As a result of our great selfishness and idiotic carelessness, we’ve started to slowly murder and demolish our oceans, maybe to a point beyond repair. But it’s not just the oceans, Earth, and the marine life we’re harming. Karma has come around and humans are now starting to pay for the damage we've done. Humans have managed to push every living thing on Earth to the possibility of extinction, including humans themselves.
By destroying and killing our oceans through pollution, we've created a high risk of killing ourselves, many animal species, and ultimately the Earth. Humans just won't stop polluting though, they just keep doing it. Humans don’t understand the grave impending danger they will release across the entire planet. The garbage and other pollutants humans keep dumping into the oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes may very well come back to kill us all. Ocean pollution is a terrible thing that must be stopped before matters get worse.
The people who would disagree and say that ocean pollution isn’t a big deal, would probably say that land pollution is bigger problem. They probably would say that it’s easier and faster to dump their waste in the water because then it’s not their problem anymore. I’d say pollution on land and pollution in water are very equal sized problems, but you can’t just destroy another part of the earth so that your part of the earth is clean.
My first point is that because of ocean pollution, humans are contracting diseases from contaminated marine life that we’re eating and it’s putting us at serious health risks.
Toxic chemicals and plastics enter the ocean through runoff, deliberate dumping, or other land based activities. While in the ocean animals mistake it for food. Small marine animals at the bottom of the food chain absorb and consume toxic chemicals and plastic pieces as they eat. Because chemicals and plastics do not break down easily, the chemicals and plastics accumulate in these animals, becoming much more concentrated in their bodies than in the surrounding water or soil. These small animals are then eaten by bigger animals higher up the food chain, and the concentration of the chemicals and plastics rises. These animals are in return eaten by larger animals, further increasing their chemical and plastic load. According to World Wildlife Fund, “Animals higher up the food chain, such as seals, can have contamination levels millions of times higher than the water in which they live in. And polar bears, which feed on seals, can have contamination levels up to 3 billion times higher than their environment” (WWF).
People can become contaminated by eating seafood and marine animal fats that have these toxic chemicals and plastic pieces in them. Chemicals and plastics found in fish and other marine animals, can cause serious health problems for humans. These health problems include cancer, damage to the immune system, behavioral problems, and reduced fertility.
My evidence supports my first point because it explains that chemicals and plastics in the water, are getting introduced into the global food chain, contamination levels continually rise up through the food chain, contaminating marine life and other organisms as it goes up. It explains that humans get the high contamination levels of chemicals and plastics when we eat marine animals. My evidence explains that we get contaminated by eating seafood with high levels of concentrated chemicals. These chemicals then have a high chance of giving us diseases like cancer.
My second point is that because of ocean pollution, humans may be drinking unsafe water that could have serious repercussions on our health.
Water is a very important resource and a vital need that all living things must have to survive. Without it, nothing could live. It’s not a new thing to anyone that water is a necessity to live, but what if the water that we’re drinking, the water we’re relying on to hydrate and nurture our bodies, is killing us?
For centuries, humans have contaminated their sources of drinking water with sewage, which can lead to diseases like cholera and typhoid. According to Cable News Network, “One gram of human excrement contains approximately 10 million viruses, 1 million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts, and 100 parasite eggs” (CNN).
Over 1 billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe water and every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease, says Water Partners International. “In developing countries, 70% of industrial wastes are dumped, untreated, into waters, polluting their usable water supply.” (Nat Geo).
Many industries dump toxic chemicals into the ocean and these chemicals get into our water supply. Industrial chemicals have been linked to causing cancers and other diseases.
My evidence supports my second topic because it explains that ocean pollution, toxic pollutants, sewage, and industrial chemicals are polluting public water systems. Making our water unsafe and dangerous to drink. One effect of drinking this polluted water is cancer.
My third point is that because of ocean pollution, all the plastic in our water is harming Earth, animals, and humans. Plastic is everywhere. Everyone uses it somehow or another. It’s one of the world's most popular and demanded materials. But plastic is getting in the water, destroying our oceans and beaches, killing animals, and is starting to take it’s toll on humans.
Plastic never goes away and it keeps being manufactured everyday. A report showed that in 2012, 288 million tons of plastic were manufactured globally. Everyday there’s more and more plastic being used once and thrown away improperly. Most of that plastic has nowhere to go but into the ocean. According to National Geographic, “In 2010, eight million tons of plastic trash ended up in the ocean from coastal countries.” (Nat Geo).
Emerging research suggests that not one square mile of surface ocean, anywhere on Earth, is free of plastic pollution. Today, billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling huge garbage patches making up about 40% of the world’s ocean surfaces. There’s a garbage patch in the North Pacific, known as the Pacific Trash Vortex, it’s estimated to be the size of Texas. Plastic from the ocean can also wash back up onto the shore, where it pollutes beaches and other coastal habitats. This causes beaches and coasts to be closed and shut down. Plastic that makes it’s way into the ocean slowly photodegrades into smaller pieces that marine life mistake for food. Eating the small pieces of plastic can have a drastic impact on their health. Thousands of marine mammals and other animals are killed each year after eating plastic waste or getting entangled and stuck in plastic material floating around in the sea. plastic bags, have been found blocking the throats and stomachs of many marine species, including whales, dolphins, seals, puffins, and turtles. Plastic six-pack rings from soda cans can also choke marine animals. According to Center of Biological Diversity, “Fish in the North Pacific ingest 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic each year, which can cause intestinal injury and death. Plastics also get transferred up the food chain to bigger fish and marine mammals.” (biologicaldiversity.org).
A recent study found that a quarter of the fish at markets in California contained plastic in their guts, mostly in the form of plastic microfibers. Plastic pollution in our oceans doesn’t just hurt marine species. Plastic is also dangerously affecting humans. As plastic garbage floats in the sea, it absorbs dangerous pollutants like PCBs, DDT and PAH. These chemicals are very toxic and have a wide range of long-term effects, including endocrine disruption and cancer-causing mutations. The concentration of PCBs in plastics floating in the ocean has been documented as 100,000 to 1 million times that of the surrounding waters. When animals eat these plastic pieces, the toxins are absorbed into their body and passed up the food chain. As plastics break apart in the ocean, they also release potentially toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), which can then enter the food web. When fish and other marine animals mistake plastic for food, they consume the particles and pass toxic chemicals through the food chain and ultimately to humans. We contaminate ourselves by eating the toxic fish. Plastic pollution affects our economy too. Because of plastic pollution, a lot of money is getting spent and lost on beach cleanups, tourism losses, and damages to fishing and aquaculture industries. Plastic pollution has turned our once beautiful beaches and oceans into disgusting landfills. Big tourist places are now littered and destroyed with plastic garbage. Kamilo Beach, in Hawaii, is now known as “Plastic Beach” for the tons of plastic trash that’s littered all over its shores.
My evidence supports my claim because it explains that plastic pollution is affecting our oceans and all life that depends it. My evidence explains that due to incredible amounts of plastic pollution in our water, there are now multiple enormous swirly patches of plastic garbage taking up about 40% of surface water on Earth. Because of massive amounts of plastic in the ocean, there is now a bunch of harmful plastic waste washing back up onto the shores of beaches and coastal habits, destroying them both to the point of the having the beaches be shut down and restricted to the public and coastal habits being exterminated of all marine life. Because of plastic pollution, thousands of animals, that depend on the ocean or live in the ocean, are killed each year after accidentally eating little pieces of plastic waste, by getting trapped in plastic material floating in the sea, and by getting plastic stuck in their breathing passages and stomachs. Because of plastic pollution, the fish we eat may have a high percentage of plastic pieces and materials in it. And because of plastic pollution, our economy is losing a lot of money.
In conclusion, due to ocean pollution we’re all dead.