Ocean pollution

The problem and the solution to ocean pollution

Ocean plays an important role in our daily life and form an indispensable part of our existence. Though, many marine organisms find it difficult to live in the ocean due to pollution, and many die in large numbers due to the intake of garbage, oil, and chemicals etc.

Related Sustainable Developement Goals


The main cause of Ocean pollution

Effects caused by Industrial chemicals

Chemical contamination, or nutrient pollution, is concerning for health, environmental, and for economic reasons. For instance, The use of Agricultural Chemicals like, Pesticides and fertilizer on crops are another large environmental issue, leading to runoff of chemicals into waterways that ultimately flow into the ocean.
Furthermore, kills marine life, causes eutrophication and algal blooms, or even damages coral reefs. These negative effects on health and the environment caused by algal blooms hurt local fishing and tourism industries.

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The occurance of chemical contamination in Japan

For example, the "Ashio copper mine poisoning incident," which came to light in the late 1800s, is famous as the first case in which pollution became a social problem in Japan.
In addition, during the period of rapid economic growth, the so-called "four major pollution diseases" such as Minamata disease, Niigata Minamata disease, Yokkaichi asthma, and Itai-itai disease occurred. These diseases have caused serious damage. After the "Four Major Pollution Diseases" became a problem, efforts to eliminate pollution began to be made throughout the country. As a result, the Basic Law on Pollution Control was enacted in 1967, the Headquarters for Pollution Control was established in the Cabinet in 1970, and the Environment Agency was newly established in 1971.

Minamata disease occurred around 1956 in the coastal area of Minamata Bay in Kumamoto Prefecture. Methylmercury produced in the manufacturing process of a certain factory was washed from the river to the sea and accumulated in high concentrations in the fish and shellfish of Minamata Bay. People who ate the fish and shellfish suffered from symptoms of poisoning such as narrowing of vision, paralysis of limbs, and even death. Later, around 1964, an outbreak occurred in the Agano River basin in Niigata Prefecture. Itai-tai disease, which became a major social problem in the 1950s, occurred in the Jinzu River basin of Mt. Fuji. Cadmium flushed from the mines entered the Jinzu River, accumulated in the soil of rice paddies drained by the river, and entered the bodies of the residents through rice and domestic water. As a result, their bones became fragile and sometimes resulting in death due to the effect of the chemicals making the body frail.

Effects caused by Marine debris

80 percent of which comes from sources on land. Common types of marine debris include various plastic items like shopping bags and beverage bottles, along with cigarette butts, bottle caps, food wrappers, and fishing gear. This trash poses dangers to both humans and animals. Fish become tangled and injured in the debris, and some animals mistake items like plastic bags for food and eat them. Small organisms feed on tiny bits of broken-down plastic, called microplastic, and absorb the chemicals from the plastic into their tissues. When small organisms that consume microplastics are eaten by larger animals, the toxic chemicals then become part of their tissues. In this way, the microplastic pollution migrates up the food chain, eventually becoming part of the food that humans eat.

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    We can reduce these waste by

  • Pick/buy recyclable items.

  • Carry a personal eco bag.

  • Avoiding using plastic bags.

  • Choose a sustainable product.

Effects caused by Oil spills

Ships are major contributors to ocean pollution, especially when crude oil spills occur. Crude oil lasts for years in the ocean and is difficult to clean up. In addition, Oil pollution can come from tankers that have accidents, or from boats that are dry docked and emptied. But surprisingly, over 35% of oil pollution in the ocean comes from oil in the cities and industry runoff, even the sort you see on driveways and roads. This oil is washed away by rain into the sewage system, which lead to rivers and eventually the ocean.

Effects caused by Dumping of sewage

The dumping of sewage in the ocean is often regarded as the cheapest and easiest method of sewage disposal. Wastewater from kitchens, baths, and toilets contains a large amount of organic matter. Most of the untreated sewage containing lethal substances find their way into the ocean waters through the sewer systems, causing eutrophication in rivers, lakes, and inland seas. Resulting in, blue-green algae and red tides that holds detrimental effects on the health of marine flora and fauna. Which can also lead to the deaths of many fish and bad odor. In addition, there have been cases where groundwater is contaminated by domestic wastewater and livestock waste