Describe the sources and distribution of pollution in the world’s oceans (radioactive, material, oil, chemical, sewage, and household wastes).
Command Term: Describe – Give a detailed account
- Causes of Radioactive Waste in Oceans
- unwanted nuclear reactors , nuclear power process, medical and research use of radioisotopes
- Distribution: The countries involved were the USSR, the UK, Switzerland, the US, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Russia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy and South Korea. Together, they dumped a total of 85,100 TBq (85.1×1015Bq) of radioactive waste at over 100 ocean sites
- Causes of Oil Population in Oceans
- Oil production Platforms and ships
- Distribution: The Gulf Oil spill is recognised as the as the worst oil spill in U.S. history, however the most oil is found in North American Waters. Galveston Bay, located in Texas, had an oil spill that leaked 168,000 Gallons (635,000 Liters) into the Bay on March 22, 2014
- Above: A sheen spreads from a drop of crude oil on top of the water in the Gulf of Mexico
- Causes of Red Tides
- Overfishing, warmer waters and the washing into the sea of farm fertilizers and sewage
- Distribution: Red Tides have been reported in every US coastal state and seem to be on the rise. Red tides also occur regularly in the Coral Sea, Torres Strait, and along the south coast of Papua New Guinea
- Above: A red tide off the coast of La Jolla San Diego, California
- Causes of Plastic Waste
- Wind and water carrying waste from land out towards the ocean
- Distribution: Plastic gyres are located in the North Atlantic (North Atlantic Gyre), South Atlantic (South Atlantic Gyre), Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean Gyre), North Pacific (North Pacific Gyre) and South Pacific (South Pacific Gyre)
Examine the implications of the pollution of oceans by the disposal of waste (radioactive material, oil, chemical, sewage, and household wastes).
Command Term: Examine – Consider an argument or concept in a way that uncovers the assumptions and interrelationships of the issue
- Agricultural discharge – fertilizers (dead zones) and pesticides (toxins)
- Dead Zones are a result of an explosion of growth among phytoplankton and other algae, of which some may die, sink to the bottom and decompose. This may result in a sludge-like soup, considered lifeless, but actually teeming with toxic organism.
- Solutions: A possible solution to stop dead zones to form is using environmentally friendly fertilizers that can bio degrade before reaching the oceans or have no affect on oceans phytoplankton.
- Sewage (raw and treated) – much of the world’s waste dumped in oceans
- Sewage contaminated water causes eutrophication, which is the increase in concentration of chemical elements required for life such as nitrates, phosphates, and organic matter These serve as a food for algae and bacteria and causes these organisms to overpopulate to the point where they use up most of the dissolved oxygen, making it difficult for other organisms in this aquatic environment to live. Sewage and Medical Waste are also the cause of antibiotics entering the systems of birds and marine life.
- Industrial discharge – chemicals dumped into rivers and ocean
- Chemicals include Mercury, which commonly turn up in tuna, seals and polar bears. It also includes tributyltin a highly toxic chemical added to the paint used for almost all ships in order to kill ships and barnacles. Once these chemicals come in contact with the food web they can cause mutations which later on come back into the human food web and can have nasty side affects.
- Oil Spills – oil and gas drilling, shipping accidents, cleaning of ship holds
- Oil destroys the insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals, such as sea otters, and the water repellency of a bird’s feathers without the ability to repel water and insulate from the cold water, birds and mammals will die from hypothermia. Many birds and animals also ingest oil when they try to clean themselves, which can poison them. Fish and shellfish may not be exposed immediately, but can come into contact with oil if it is mixed into the water column. When exposed to oil, adult fish may experience reduced growth, enlarged livers, changes in heart and respiration rates, fin erosion, and reproduction impairment. Oil also adversely affects eggs and larval survival.
- Solutions: There are many ideas on how to clean the ocean when it is invested with oil. These include: leaving the oil alone so that it breaks down by natural means, containing the spill with booms and collect it from the water surface using skimmer equipment, using dispersants to break up the oil and speed its natural biodegradation and introducing biological agents to the spill to hasten biodegradation.
- Waste disposal/litter – much of the world’s trash dumped into rivers
- Fish, birds, marine mammals, reptiles, and other animals can become entangled in discarded or lost nets that continue to do what they were designed to do—catch living animals—but now they catch them indiscriminately, a process called “ghost fishing.” Items unintended for fishing become traps. Woven plastic onion sacks floating in the sea have entrapped endangered hawksbill sea turtles. Plastic bags have turned up in bird stomachs and Turtle stomach who eat them thinking they are food. This causes their ultimate death.
- Solution: There are many organisations already coming up with ideas on how to clean the ocean Boyan Slat. Slat’s concept uses the natural ocean currents and winds to passively transport plastic towards a collection platform.
CASE STUDY 1: Deep Water Horizon – Quick Overview:
Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible offshore drilling rig owned by Transocean. Built in 2001 in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries, the rig was commissioned by R&B Falcon (a later asset of Transocean), registered in Majuro, and leased to BP (British Petroleum) from 2001 until September 2013. In September 2009, the rig drilled the deepest oil well in history at a vertical depth of 35,050 ft (10,683 m) and measured depth of 35,055 ft (10,685 m) in the Tiber Oil Field at Keathley Canyon block 102, approximately 250 miles (400 km) southeast of Houston, in 4,132 feet (1,259 m) of water.
On 20 April 2010, while drilling at the Macondo Prospect, an uncontrollable blowout caused an explosion on the rig that killed 11 crewmen and ignited a fireball visible from 40 miles (64 km) away. The fire was inextinguishable and, two days later, on 22 April, the Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the seabed and causing the largest oil spill in U.S. waters.
CASE STUDY 2: Through the Gyre – Quick Overview
The Great Pacific garbage patch is a gyre of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean discovered between 1985 and 1988. The patch extends over an indeterminate area of widely varying range depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the affected area. The patch is characterized by exceptionally high relative concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre.
Estimates of size range from 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) (about the size of Texas) to more than 15,000,000 square kilometres (5,800,000 sq mi) (0.4% to 8% of the size of the Pacific Ocean), or, in some media reports, up to “twice the size of the continental United States”.
CASE STUDY 3: Midway Movie by Chris Jordan – Quick Overview
Photographs of albatross chicks were made on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific, now one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries.
Midway Atoll is a very important place for Albatrosses who mate on this island. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar over the vast ocean polluted by plastic debris and other waste collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.