Are The Oceans Really At Risk?
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Are the Oceans actually at risk?
These days majority of people do not think about what might be best for the oceans when performing actions that may be harmful towards our beloved bodies of water. It is easily taken for granted. It is hard to believe that our oceans cover such a large portion of our planet Earth and provide us with such great benefits and yet, nobody appreciates our oceans as much as they should. The oceans are vast, but not limitless. Our oceans give life to the planet and contain 80% of all life on it (Greenpeace). All of the worlds population, which includes people living far away from the coast, depends upon the ocean. We need to start protect our superb bodies of water more, only a tiny area of ocean is protected from increasingly destructive human activity. This destructive human activity includes overfishing, pollution, and destruction of the coral reefs. Overfishing could take seafood off the menu by 2048 (Scientific American). All of this activity is slowly degrading our mass waters. If it does not stop soon we will be in serius trouble when everyone expects to still be able to use all of those benfits the ocean offers.
Coral reefs are very important to our future. Many people think that coral is a plant but really it is an animal that is related to the jellyfish (Oceans, 15). Coral reefs are diverse living ecosystems; they are homes for millions of fish and other species, many that we rely on for food. Do not forget that coral reefs help protect communities close to the coast from storms. Coral reefs are also full of new and undiscovered biomedical resources that we have only just begun to explore. “As the rain forests of the sea, coral reefs provide services estimated to be worth as much as 375 billion dollars annually, a staggering figure for an ecosystem covering less than one percent of the Earths surface.” (U.S. Coral Reef Task Force). Coral reefs are homes to over twenty five percent of all marine life (Essortment). But, corals thrive only in clean, clear, waters and those conditions are getting more and more rare as time progresses. Reefs are often disturbed by natural events such as hurricanes and tropical storms, which can reduce reefs to rubbish. Pollution and overfishing threatens fragile coral reefs (Coral reefs, 46). Another way that the coral reefs can be destroyed is by them being affected by diseases. Estimates say that ten percent of the worlds coral reefs have already been destroyed. The crown-of-thorns starfish feeds on corals and, if large amounts, can reduce a reef to dead coral skeletons in just as little as a few weeks. Another disease that comes across coral reefs is black-band disease. Black-band disease spreads over colonies of coral, progressively killing the polyps (USGS). Polyps are tiny sea creatures living on the coral (LetÐÐŽÐ¦s Take a Field Trip to a Coral Reef, 5). Polyps eat plankton (Coral Reef, 8). Storms cause some damage, nut most threats to the coral reefs come from people (Inside a Coral Reef, 26). Since coral reefs can live only within a certain temperature and salinity range it is hard for reefs to survive in such conditions. Because of global warming the temperature is slowly rising. Even though it may seem to be getting much warmer, even the rise of one degree in the average water temperature can harm the coral greatly. When the water is warmer, algae tends to grow on the tops of coral. Since coral needs sunshine to be able to photosynthesis in order to stay alive, algae growing on top of the coral can furthermore kill it. Sediment on top of the reefs is a bad thing also. Mangrove trees and sea grasses, which normally act as filters for sediment, are being speedily vanishing be cause of being cut down or removed for beaches. This leads to a raise in the amount of sediment which comes in contact with the reefs (Essortment). When the sea water temperature is unusually high a process called coral bleaching can take place. Coral bleaching is when the coral turns completely white or shows the very pale colors of the skeleton. If a reef has a severe case of coral bleaching, it will die (The Greenpeace Book of Coral Reefs, 54).
The ocean has always played a very vital role in the lives of humans. They have presented people with a way of transporting goods, a source of food and water, and not to mention discovering new lands. Our oceans are being exploited at the time. Our population is constantly growing and the ocean is not getting any larger, meaning the amount of pollution we produce also increases (Polluting the Oceans, 3). Ocean pollution can kill plants and animals, fish, make people ill, and spoil beaches and swimming areas. About 450 cubic kilometers of waste water are carried off into the water every year (People and Planet). Land based activities produces about eighty percent of marine pollution (Global Marine Programme). One form of pollution is called chemical pollution. This pollution comes from factories that are often built along rivers so chemical waste can be pumped directly into the water. Even if they do not directly pump into the ocean, the pollution in the rivers eventually gets to the ocean. In 1986 a chemical factory, on the Rhine River, had a fire and so much pollution was release into the water that for ninety miles of the river all life was killed (Polluting the Oceans, 11). Another way that the oceans can be poisoned is from farm poisoning. When farmers use fertilizers and chemicals to kill pests those chemicals usually are washed off the farm into an ocean or a river. Animal feedlots in the U.S. alone produce around 500 million tons of manure every year, more than three times the waste produced by humans. This affects not only the water supply, but the animals also. Areas where agricultural runoff is strong is a real problem. Once into the ocean it tends to make coastal habitat die off. These areas are referred to as dead zones. There is a dead zone the size of New Jersey off the coast of Texas (Oceans Alive). The fish that live in this water end up getting sick and possibly dying. The birds that eat these fish can also get sick. When one type of creature is harmed, others including human may suffer too (Oceans, 26). Many boats also dump into the ocean. The large amount of waste and sewage that is in the ocean has the ocean clogged of their purity. Lots of people blame the oil pollution in the water on tankers who spill oil but really they are only responsible for only about twelve percent of the oil entering the water each year (Global Marine Programme). Lots of oil comes from the tankers washing out their tanks with water from the ocean, leaking pipes under the sea, and accident on drilling platforms (Polluting the Oceans, 17). People also tend to just throw their trash into the ocean also. This trash may end up stuck on an animal. When you release a helium filled