The oceans are in great peril. The oceans as an ecosystem need to maintain the delicate balance that allows all the various species to survive. However, the changes in climate, including global warming and the melting of the glaciers, are putting tremendous pressure on the oceans and creating significant adverse changes. Furthermore, the continued pollution of the oceans with garbage, specifically plastics, by humans, is killing of multiple animals. According to the Ocean Conservancy, a group dedicated to fighting the negative effects humans have had on oceans, all life began in the oceans and we need to realize that they are the foundation of life on this planet. One of the greatest risks to the oceans is the continued acidification of the waters. As carbon dioxide emissions increase in the atmosphere, the oceans absorb the carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is an acid, and this has led to an increased acidity level in the oceans. The acidification of the oceans is occurring at fifty times the rate as it has in the past (Ocean Conservancy, 2019).
Plastic and garbage in the ocean is another significant risk. The oceans have become a garbage dump in many areas. There are huge patches of floating garbage and this impacts the health of the oceans. There are also countless horrific pictures of animals that have plastic embedded in their bodies. Furthermore, many animals have distorted bodies as they were trapped in plastic during their growth phase. Microplastics are of significant concern to the ocean. Tiny pieces of plastic appear as food to many marine species. They eat the microplastics and they die eventually due to lack of nutrients and the inability of their bodies to clear the plastic from the intestines. These animals do not have the same size as previous generations. Perch are much smaller due to plastic, which increases their susceptibility to a greater number of predators. Furthermore, humans need to realize that we eat the fish that have eaten plastic. We are also eating plastic due to our inability to control our own garbage (McGrath, 2016).
- McGrath, M. (2016, June 2). Fish eat plastic like teens eat fast food. BBC. Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36435288
- Ocean Conservancy. (2019). Ocean acidification crisis.