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Explore the fascinating marine life that inhabits the ocean from nanoplankton to sea turtles to dolphins.

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Ocean Pollution

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Ocean Pollution

Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans. ~ Evo Morales

Over 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Most of the waste we produce on land eventually reaches the oceans, either through deliberate dumping or from run-off through drains and rivers. Many potentially toxic chemicals adhere to tiny particles which are then taken up by plankton and benthos animals, most of which are either deposit or filter feeders. In this way, the toxins are concentrated upward within ocean food chains. Toxic metals can also be introduced into marine food webs. These can cause a change to tissue matter, biochemistry, behaviour, reproduction, and suppress growth in marine life.

Every time we wash a car or fertilize our lawns we are polluting the ocean. People often think that water pollution comes from big factories, but most of the pollution comes from everyday people doing everyday things. This kind of pollution is called nonpoint-source pollution because we cannot point out where it came from directly. All waste water, in time, enters a body of water (usually a stream). Every stream leads to a river, and every river leads to an ocean.

Solid waste like bags, foam, and other items dumped into the oceans from land or by ships at sea are frequently consumed, with often fatal effects, by marine mammals, fish, and birds that mistake it for food. Plastic is the most common element that is found in the ocean. It is harmful for the environment as it does not get break down easily and is often considered as food by marine animals.

Over one million seabirds are killed by ocean pollution each year. Three hundred thousand dolphins and porpoises die each year as a result of becoming entangled in discarded fishing nets. Plastic debris can absorb toxic chemicals from ocean pollution, therefore poisoning whatever eats it. In fact, plastic pollution is one of the most serious threats to the ocean. Plastic does not degrade; instead, it breaks down into progressively smaller pieces, but never disappears.

Ocean mining in the deep sea is yet another source of ocean pollution. Ocean mining sites drilling for silver, gold, copper, cobalt and zinc create sulfide deposits up to three and a half thousand meters down in to the ocean.

Oil spill floats on the surface of water and prevents sunlight from reaching to marine plants and affects in the process of photosynthesis. Skin irritation, eye irritation, lung and liver problems can impact marine life over long period of time.

Animals from impacted food chain are then eaten by humans which affects their health as toxins from these contaminated animals gets deposited in the tissues of people and can lead to cancer, birth defects or long term health problems.

Take Action for Ocean Pollution

  • TELL CONGRESS TO FIGHT OCEAN PLASTIC! (http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/1145/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=3195)

    Your voice needs to be heard, tell your Representative to support the Reauthorization of the Marine Debris Research, Prevention and Reduction Act.

    As you know, marine debris (plastic and other garbage in our oceans) is a huge and growing problem. Marine debris is estimated to kill millions of seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year. In all, 270 ocean species are affected by entanglement or ingestion by the roughly 14 billion pounds of trash that flow into our oceans each year.

    Since 2006, NOAA has been running a Marine Debris Program in partnership with the Coast Guard. This program uses research, engagement and education to better understand the problem, and to prevent it by changing human behaviors. The program also ventures out into the ocean to remove existing marine debris, reclaiming destructive fishing gear, and other garbage.

    This good program is making a difference, and Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) has introduced a bill to ensure that NOAA and the Coast Guard can continue and expand this important work.

    Please contact your Representative and tell them to support H.R. 1171, the Reauthorization of the Marine Debris Research, Prevention and Reduction Act.

  • HELP STOP KILLER ALGAE! (http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/1145/t/4478/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=2956)

    Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can kill fish, marine mammals, and birds. They can contaminate shellfish with toxins, and harm human health, sometimes resulting in fatalities. They are proven to have a negative impact on coastal lifestyles including tourism. In fact, it has been estimated that toxic algal blooms, like "red tide" cost coastal communities over $80 million every year. These problems are getting worse, as the incidence, duration, and severity of HAB events are on the rise.

    Please contact your Representative today and ask them to support the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009! (H.R. 3650)

  • 3 Steps to Fund Water Quality Monitoring (http://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/5077)

  • Stop Plastic Trash - Take the Pledge (http://act.oceana.org/sign/p-plastics/

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