What Effect Does Pollution Have On The Ocean – Marine Debris Toolkit for Educators: Citizen Science and Community Action in an Educational Setting (60-minute Webinar)

Every year, billions of pounds of trash and other pollutants enter the ocean. Where does this pollution come from? Where does it go? Some debris ends up on our beaches, washed up with waves and tides. Some debris sinks, some is mistaken for food by marine animals, and some accumulates in ocean gyres. Other types of pollution that impact ocean health come from sources like oil spills or from the accumulation of many diffuse sources like manure from our yards.

What Effect Does Pollution Have On The Ocean

What Effect Does Pollution Have On The Ocean

Garbage such as plastic detergent bottles, crates, buoys, combs and water bottles carpet Kanapau Bay on the island of Kaholawe in Hawaii. This area is a hot spot for marine debris accumulation. (Image credit:)

Ocean Plastics Pollution

Most of the pollutants that make their way into the ocean come from human activities along the coast and far inland. One of the largest sources of pollution is nonpoint source pollution, which occurs as a result of runoff. Nonpoint source pollution can come from many sources, such as septic tanks, vehicles, farms, livestock farms, and timber harvesting areas. Pollution from a single source, such as an oil or chemical spill, is called point source pollution. Point source pollution events often have large impacts, but fortunately, they occur less frequently. Discharges from faulty or damaged factories or water treatment systems are also considered point source pollution.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals that are notoriously resistant to biodegradation and are found in ground, surface and drinking water. Makayla Neldner, a 2022 Hollings Scholar, spent her summer internship at the Hollings Marine Lab in Charleston, South Carolina, researching how two PFAS compounds affect the life cycle of larval grass shrimp (

Sometimes it is not the type of substance, but its concentration that determines whether a substance is a pollutant. For example, nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients are essential elements for plant growth. However, if they are too abundant in a body of water, they can stimulate the growth of algae, triggering an event called an algal bloom. Harmful algal blooms (HABs), also known as “red tides,” grow rapidly and cause toxic effects that affect marine life and sometimes humans. Excess nutrients entering water bodies through natural or human activities can cause hypoxia or dead zones. When large amounts of algae are submerged in water and decompose, the decomposition process consumes oxygen and depletes the supply available for healthy marine life. Many marine species living in these areas die or leave the area if they are mobile (such as fish).

Using environmental forecasting, it is possible to predict changes in ecosystems in response to HABs and other environmental drivers. These forecasts provide information on how people, economies and communities may be affected. For example, the Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring System developed by the National Centers for Coastal Marine Sciences provides information to the public and local officials to decide whether to temporarily close beaches to protect public health.

Preventing Plastic Pollution

Researchers at St. John’s Reserve, a unit of the Delaware National Estuarine Reserve, observed litter in songbird nests around the reserve’s visitor center. Hollings scholar Eleanor Meng studied whether this littering occurred more often in nests near the visitor center compared to nests further away.

Marine debris is a persistent pollution problem that reaches the entire ocean and Great Lakes. Our oceans and waterways are polluted by various types of marine debris, ranging from tiny microplastics, smaller than 5 mm, to fishing gear and abandoned ships. Around the world, hundreds of marine species are negatively affected by marine debris, which can harm or kill animals when they are consumed or become entangled, and threaten the habitats they depend on. Marine debris can interfere with the safety of navigation and pose a threat to human health.

Most of all marine debris originates on land and enters the ocean and Great Lakes through littering, poor waste management practices, storm water discharges, and extreme natural events such as tsunamis and hurricanes. Some debris, such as decrepit fishing gear, may also come from marine sources. This lost or abandoned gear is a major problem because it continues to capture and kill wildlife, damage sensitive habitats, and can compete with and damage active fishing gear.

What Effect Does Pollution Have On The Ocean

Local, national and international efforts are needed to solve this environmental problem. The Save Our Seas Act of 2018 amends and reauthorizes the Marine Debris Act to encourage international action, authorize cleanup and response measures, and increase coordination among federal agencies on this issue.

How Does Water Pollution Affect Fish?

Garbage patches are large areas of ocean where trash, fishing gear, and other marine debris accumulate. The term “garbage patch” is a misleading nickname, as many believe that garbage patches are “garbage islands” visible from afar. These areas are actually made up of debris ranging in size from microplastics to oversized fishing gear.

These patches are formed by large, rotating ocean currents called gyres that pull debris into a single location, often into the center of the gyre. There are five gyres in the ocean: one in the Indian Ocean, two in the Atlantic Ocean and two in the Pacific Ocean. Each gyre has litter patches of varying size. Due to wind and currents, garbage patches are constantly changing size and shape. Debris forming garbage patches can be found from the ocean surface to the ocean floor.

A group of teenagers from Mystic Aquarium received funding from the North American Association for Environmental Education to lead an action project in their local community. The team chose to work with a non-profit organization to implement a project to raise awareness about plastic pollution and recycle the most common types of plastic used in boats.

Heavy metals and other pollutants can accumulate in seafood, making it harmful for humans to consume. Microplastics can be ingested by fish and other species that filter their food from the water. As more than one-third of the United States’ shellfish-growing waters are adversely affected by coastal pollution, it is important for stakeholders to study the effects of microplastics and harmful contaminants in seafood. Research is ongoing across the country focusing on the potential risk to wildlife and humans from debris exposure and ingestion. Monitors seafood contamination and provides safety tips through the FishWatch program.

How Does Tourism Impact The Ocean: Water Pollution — Sea Going Green

The B’more Conscious Environmental Fun Festival at the National Aquarium focuses on blue crab populations in Baltimore, plastic pollution and microplastics, eutrophication and food waste, and the urbanization of Baltimore City.

Whether humans live near the coast or far inland, they are part of the problem – and the solution – to marine pollution. Through this collection of resources and information, students can be informed about the types of pollution that harm our ocean and learn about steps they can take to prevent further pollution wherever they live. The Marine Debris Program provides many educational resources to help educators, students, families and adults better understand this global issue. Marine pollution is a combination of chemicals and trash, much of which comes from land sources and is washed or blown into the ocean. . This pollution harms the environment, the health of all living things, and economic structures worldwide.

Marine pollution is a growing problem in today’s world. Our ocean is full of two main types of pollution: chemicals and trash.

What Effect Does Pollution Have On The Ocean

Chemical pollution or nutrient pollution is related to health, environmental and economic reasons. This type of pollution occurs when human activities, especially the use of fertilizers on farms, allow chemicals to flow into waterways, which eventually flow into the ocean. Increased concentrations of chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorus in the coastal ocean encourage the growth of algal blooms, which are toxic to wildlife and harmful to humans. The negative health and environmental impacts caused by algal blooms harm local fishing and tourism industries.

How Is Plastic Ruining The Oceans In The Worst Way Possible?

Marine litter encompasses all manufactured products—most of them plastic—that end up in the ocean. Littering, storm winds and poor waste management all contribute to the accumulation of this debris, 80 percent of which comes from terrestrial sources. Common types of marine debris include various plastic items such as shopping bags and drink bottles, cigarette butts, bottle caps, food wrappers and fishing gear. Plastic waste is particularly problematic as a pollutant because it persists for so long. Plastic items can take hundreds of years to decompose.

These wastes are hazardous to humans and animals. Fish become entangled and injured in debris, and some animals mistake items such as plastic bags for food. Tiny organisms eat tiny pieces of broken plastic, called microplastics, and absorb chemicals from the plastic into their tissues. Microplastics are less than five millimeters (0.2 inches) in diameter and contain

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