"Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans."
- Jacques-Yves Cousteau
- Jacques-Yves Cousteau
1. Sewage and Wastewater
Households and businesses produce a great deal of wastewater that pollutes nearby water sources. The sewage from houses is chemically treated and then released into the oceans, negatively affecting the water quality. The bacteria and chemicals that are in the water cause serious health problems for the people that come into contact with it.
2. Industrial Waste
Industries produce huge amounts of waste containing toxic chemicals and pollutants. Many of these industries lack an adequate waste management system, allowing these chemicals to drain into rivers that lead to the ocean. This is typical in developing countries, where 70% of industrial waste is dumped into the ocean. Once these chemicals come in contact with the water, they have the ability to change the color, increase the amount of minerals, and change the temperature of the water.
3. Marine Dumping
In many countries, it is acceptable and expected that the garbage produced by each household is dumped into the ocean. Along with creating water pollution and harming marine life, this waste takes 2 weeks to 200 years to decompose.
4. Oil Spills
When large amounts of oil enter the sea, it does not dissolve with the water, posing a huge threat to marine life. When a large quantity of oil enters the sea in one place, it forms a thick sludge, suffocating fish and blocking sun from reaching plants capable of photosynthesis.
5. Burning of Fossil Fuels
When fossil fuels such as coal and oil are burned, they produce ash, which is released into the atmosphere. When it comes in contact with water vapor, acid rain is created.
6. Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides
When farmers use pesticides to improve their crops, the excess runs into nearby rivers, eventually ending up in the ocean. The chemicals in the pesticides pose serious threats to marine life. Americans alone use over 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides every year, all of which eventually gets washed into our rivers and lakes.
7. Leakage from Landfills
Landfills are simply massive piles of trash. When it rains, they can easily leak into the groundwater, and release a wide variety of contaminants into the water.