Human activities are a significant threat to our oceans. When you think of these activities, threats like climate change, plastic pollution, oil drilling, and pipelines come to mind. Here’s a quick look at how these threats affect our oceans and the risks we face.
Climate change presents the greatest threat to our oceans. Picture how difficult it would be for aquatic life to breathe when you turned up the heat and dropped some acid in their water. This is the same experience animals in the ocean go through due to climate change. Climate change is the reason behind hot seas and increased acidification. It’s difficult for aquatic life to breathe in such an environment.
Plastic pollution isn’t new, and evidence suggests that about a truckload of plastics get dumped into our oceans every minute. This damages the ecosystems, and animals often mistake plastic for food. Dolphins, seabirds, and turtles can mistake plastic for food, which affects their health.
Unfortunately, we haven’t taken the issue of oil spills in our oceans seriously. Over the years, catastrophes like the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon oil spills shocked the world. Today, we experience similar environmental disasters that lead to oil pollution.
Our overdependence on oil is killing seabirds, mammals, and fish. Oil drilling and pipelines are gradually destroying our ecosystems. While efforts are in place to prevent marine oil pollution, there’s still more that needs to be done to warrant that such devastating environmental disasters don’t happen.
Overfishing is another huge threat to our oceans in many parts of the world. This is a severe problem that has left most oceans overfished. Destructive fishing practices, such as shark finning and bottom-trawling, are depleting the rich fish resources that we have around us.
Wildlife conservation efforts usually point us to parks and other protected areas. Usually, these secluded areas ensure wildlife such as elephants, deer, and bears thrive. The same should be true for marine protected areas. Marine wildlife isn’t as protected as required. In fact, this is one of the reasons why overfishing occurs in many parts of the world. It’s important to set up protected areas to protect our marine wildlife.
Human activities have also had a significant impact on tropical coral reefs. These coral reefs are home to thousands of animal species. Coral reefs are disappearing at a frightening rate, partly due to human activities. Stressors such as rising sea temperatures, unsustainable tourism, overfishing, and pollution, affect coral reefs. All these stressors lead to coral bleaching, which eventually kills reefs.
Generally, most of the biggest ocean threats result from human activities. We should aim to protect the environment by sticking to sustainable solutions with less harmful environmental effects. For instance, switching to electric cars can help slow climate change and turn the heat down. It’s our responsibility to protect our oceans for the benefit of our ecosystem.