Surplus human activities have severely affected the marine life on the Earth’s oceans. Comment.

Surplus human activities have severely affected the marine life on the Earth’s oceans. Comment.

Approach

  • Introduce with importance of oceans
  • List anthropogenic impact on marine life
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Oceans provide life support only to marine life but also to humans as they produce more than half the world’s oxygen, create more than $128 billion in GDP annually. However, surplus human activity is spreading harmful substances such as oil, plastic, industrial and agricultural waste and chemical particles into the ocean causing marine pollution.

Anthropogenic activities impacting marine life:

  • Marine Pollution: Sewage, toxic chemicals from industries, large scale oil spills, ocean mining, disposal of plastic are all destroying the marine life.
  • Climate Change: Increased sea carbon dioxide levels and sea temperature due to human induced climate change can cause, ocean acidification etc harm the habitat of marine life, especially corals.
  • Physical disturbance of sea-bed habitat and marine biota : This occurs as a result of bottom trawling, dredging for shipping, offshore hydrocarbon industries, deep sea mining and land reclamation projects.
  • Increased demand for marine space: from fisheries, aquaculture, shipping routes, tourism etc.
  • Underwater noise: from shipping, offshore exploration, mining etc.

Oceans are the largest water bodies on the planet Earth. Marine pollution is the release of harmful substances such as oil, plastic, industrial and agricultural waste and chemical particles into the ocean. The marine debris creates health hazard for marine life.

Impact of human activities on marine life:

  • The wastes that are dumped into the oceans tend to have toxic substances, which soak in all the oceanic oxygen leading to death of marine life.
  • Rising ocean temperatures and de-oxygenation can kill Corals or impede their reproduction and growth, causing negative impact on the whole ecosystem.
  • Phytoplankton and marine bacteria carry out most of the first degree production on which food webs depend. The increase in sea temperature is affecting their productivity, which in turn will have serious implications for human food security and nutrient cycles.
  • Plastic debris that reaches the ocean remains floating for years as it does not decompose quickly; Birds, turtles, and fish ingest a variety of plastic items, especially micro-beads and their digestive systems become clogged,
  • Oil spill is extremely toxic to marine life, often suffocating marine animals too.
  • Bioaccumulation of hazardous substances damages immune and reproductive systems and also causes the death of marine life.

About 30-35% of critical marine habitats have been overused or destroyed. The Sustainable Development Goal 14 on “Life below water” aims to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution. Given the state of ocean ecosystems, it is paramount for nations to collaborate scientifically and create networks for conservation.

Subjects : Ecology and Environment

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