Logan R. North Carolina

Marine Pollution

Marine pollution is a bad thing

Dear Mr president

I want to ask you about how is the marine life doing when the oil rigs are spilling oil into the ocean.Habitat loss—due to destruction, fragmentation or degradation of habitat—is the primary threat to the survival of wildlife in the United States.

When an ecosystem has been dramatically changed by human activities—such as agriculture, oil and gas exploration, commercial development or water diversion—it may no longer be able to provide the food, water, cover, and places to raise young. Every day there are fewer places left that wildlife can call home. So are we saving marine life or killing the existence of their habitat.

Litter in the world’s oceans comes from many sources, including containers that fall off ships during storms, trash that washes off city streets into rivers that lead into the sea, and waste from landfills that blows into streams or directly into the ocean. Once in the ocean, this debris may degrade slowly and persist for years, traveling the currents, accumulating in large patches and washing up on beaches.

Air pollution brings to mind visions of smokestacks billowing black clouds into the sky, but this pollution comes in many forms. The burning of fossil fuels, in both energy plants and vehicles, releases massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing climate change. Industrial processes also emit particulate matter, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and other noxious gases. Indoor areas can become polluted by emissions from smoking and cooking. Some of these chemicals, when released into the air, contribute to smog and acid rain. Short term exposure to air pollution can irritate the eyes, nose and throat and cause upper respiratory infections, headaches, nausea and allergic reactions. Long-term exposures can lead to chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, and heart disease. Long-term exposures also can lead to significant climatic changes that can have far reaching negative impacts on food, water and ecosystems.

Clean freshwater is an essential ingredient for a healthy human life, but 1.1 billion people lack access to water and 2.4 billion don’t have adequate sanitation. Water becomes polluted from toxic substances dumped or washed into streams and waterways and the discharge of sewage and industrial waste. These pollutants come in many forms—organic, inorganic, even radioactive—and can make life difficult, if not impossible, for humans, animals and other organisms alike.

Pollution from land-based sources is a primary cause of coral reef degradation throughout the world. In the Caribbean, for example, approximately 80 percent of ocean pollution originates from activities on land. As human populations expand in coastal areas, development alters the landscape, increasing runoff from land. Runoff often carries large quantities of sediment from land-clearing, high levels of nutrients from agricultural areas and sewage outflows, and pollutants such as petroleum products and pesticides. These land-based sources of pollution threaten coral reef health.

Also Marine debris affects reefs in many areas. Marine debris is any human-made object that is discarded, disposed of, or abandoned that enters coastal and ocean waters. Debris may enter directly from a ship or indirectly when washed out to sea via rivers, streams, and storm drains. Hundreds of human-made items end up as marine debris, including plastics (from bags to balloons, hard hats to fishing line), glass, metal, rubber (millions of tires!), and even entire vessels.

Did you know that Plastic debris kills several reef species. Derelict (abandoned) fishing nets and other gear—often called "ghost nets" because they still catch fish and other marine life despite being abandoned—can entangle and kill reef organisms and break or damage reefs. Even remote reef systems suffer the effects of marine debris. The Northwestern Hawaiian Island reefs are particularly prone to the accumulation of marine debris because of their central location in the North Pacific gyre. From 2000 to 2006, NOAA and partners removed over 500 tons of marine debris from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.


Logan Rogers

Work cited

"NOAA Visions Article on Coral Reef Conservation." US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. : National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | U.S. Department of Commerce | US.govt, 19 July 2012. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

"Pollution." WorldWildlife.org. World Wildlife Fund, 9 Feb. 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

@nwf. "Habitat Loss - National Wildlife Federation." Habitat Loss - National Wildlife Federation. National Wildlife Federation, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.