Describe and discuss the major causes and effects of marine pollution. Suggest solutions for the problem and analyze how successful they may be.
This essay concentrates on three major causes of marine pollution, which are the discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater, waste oil and plastics. The proposed solution to this problem will be prevention and pollution treatment, and eventually, the former one proves to be more effective. Firstly, this essay will present and explain the major causes and effects of marine pollution. Then, different solutions will be suggested in the second part. The final part will evaluate the effectiveness of these solutions and show that prevention may be more successful.
The first main cause of the marine pollution is the discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater. Since both the cities and industrial estates are crowded with lots of people, there is more sewage flowing into rivers and then into oceans. Therefore, the quality of seawater gets worse and oxygen content decreases rapidly. Without oxygen, fishes living under the sea can not survive. Because of the nutrients in the sewage, seaweed may grow well firstly and eventually die when running out of food. The wastewater will finally destroy ecological balance.
Waste oil is another significant cause of marine pollution. After flowing out of factories, or leaking from ships, or spilling in accidents, waste oil enters oceans. The total amount of waste oil is surprisingly great. A typical case which occurred in Taiwan in 2001 is an spill accident caused by a ship from Greece, which was broken and oil spilling into the sea resulted in serious pollution in its surrounding sea area (Chiau, 2005). Then the waste oil floats on the water and drifts with winds for it is lighter than water. Several elements in the waste oil is harmful to the living of creatures, especially to the living of seabirds. The oil sticks to the wings of seabirds so they can not fly and die on the sea one after another. Waste oil may let seabirds run into danger of becoming distinct.
The third major cause of marine pollution is plastics. Plastics share most of the floating pollutant. There is a research that showed in the seashore of Japan, 72.9% of the total number of the wastes are plastics which weighed 53.8% of the total wastes, and in the neighbouring Russia, the statistics are 55.1% and 23.4% respectively (Islam, 2004).[C] The plastics can block the propeller of ships and may cause enormous accident. Plastics floating in the oceans can also cause lack of oxygen and have the similar effects that preventing respiration of creatures as the sewage does.
There are two main solutions to the marine pollution problem. Prevention comes out first. It is suggested that government should perfect new intendance system of protecting the quality of water, and develop cooperation among countries (Islam, 2004). [D] It is also necessary to establish laws to keep the conduct of people and enterprises. The second main solution is pollution treatment, which contains setting up treatment plants and planting trees. Since trees are able to make soil secure and hold back water from running off, they can be planted in the crowded cities and factories which cause marine pollution. In Kocasoy, Mutlu, and Alagöz’s study (2008), [E] these solutions can reduce the discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater and improve the quality of seawater. It is unpractical to totally forbid the discharge of wastewater, and bringing some limits to it is a feasible treatment.
Weighing the pros and cons, Prevention of marine pollution will be more effective to solve the problem. In one hand, prevention is the most essential theme of environmental management. The monitoring of water quality can be put into practice in advance to prevent damage to ocean environment. The restraint of ideology and conception on marine environment of people and enterprises will also obviously be helpful. In the other hand, always first polluting the marine environment and then taking counter-measures as treatment is irresponsible behaviour. Although these measures can reduce pollution to some extent, the disastrous consequences may have already existed and will continually come into being.
This essay considers main causes and solutions of marine pollution. The prevention of marine pollution is proved to be more effective than pollution treatment because it can basically solve this problem and maintain the original environment. For the government, it is a challenge to take proper measures to prevent people continuing the polluting behaviour. However, there is still a long way to go in the future.