Trash dumping is one of the main sources of ocean pollution. In the 1980's scientists became alarmed with what they were finding in the ocean. There were vials of blood, bandages, syringes, and needles. What was most alarming was the fact that there were viruses in the blood that was being dumped and put into the ocean. The ocean produces so much oxygen for us it could be dangerous to have it in the air that we need and breath. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) saw that hospitals produce more than 3 tons of ocean pollution per year and the majority of the waste was ending up in the ocean so they enforced stricter laws and now the trash in ending up in sanitary landfills.
Another huge source of ocean pollution is sludge dumping. In the 1990's the US alone dumped 38 trillion liters of sludge or raw waste into the ocean and its coasts. Raw sewage is solid or liquid waste. The raw sewage is sent to a treatment plants that removes solid waste. Then once the liquid is significantly treated it is sent down water ways and make its way out to the oceans. The liquid is called sludge because it still has toxins and bacteria that cause diseases. The sludge usually sinks to the bottom but if enough is in an area some can come near the coast and pollute beaches and marine life.
Non point sources pollution is probably the biggest source of pollution. Every time you wash your car, fertilize your lawn, let oil drip from your car, and let that piece of trash just fly away you give into ocean pollution. All of this eventually makes its way down to sewers and rivers, that then end up in the ocean. Most of the time it gets caught in runoff and hits the river which flows into the ocean. The tiniest of things can ruin the ocean in the biggest way possible. Non point source is the new term in this section. It means pollution that can not be traced to a direct location or source.
Oil spills are one of the biggest reasons and causes of ocean pollution. When oil is being transported, specifically in large containers, if there is one tiny hole in the container, oil will leak on to the ground or in the oceans. At first this may not seem like an issue but it will soon become one. The oil that leaked onto the ground and in water sources, will eventually make it into our blue waters. So, to prevent this we need make sure that our containers are closed, and the oil is secure. One of the biggest oil leaks was in Alaska and they are still trying to recover to this day. So many marine animals died and so much water was polluted. Over 260,000 of oil was spilled in the ocean doing some permanent damage to the environment.
Nations took notice of ocean pollution when it hit an all time high. In 1989 64 countries signed a treaty to make ocean dumping illegal. They said that there would be no mercury, cadmium, compounds, plastic, trash, oil, and high level radioactive waste. Tons of international laws have been made against dumping. Enforcing the laws is the hard part. Oil spills, dumping, and pollution still occur. Human resources and money is what they need to enforce laws but that is what a lot of companies don't have.
Many cities and citizens have taken notice of the amount of ocean pollution going into the oceans. They have organized beach clean ups convinced governments to enforce and create more laws and have tried to make the ocean greener as a hole. The US created a law in 1972 called the Marine Protection and sanctuaries act that forbid dumping. Laws like this are making a difference but no matter how many laws there are accidents happen and laws are broken. These laws have cut down on a lot of the pollution but not all of it.
We can honor lead and serve our oceans in many different ways. First, we can honor by keeping the campus clean. If something falls on the ground, we need to pick it up. We can lead by showing and telling others about how every little thing can cause ocean pollution and that it is important to keep the Earth clean. Lastly, we can serve by picking up other people's trash and garbage, not only at school but other public places. Every little thing counts, so we have to make a change in the way we live, so pick up, clean up, and lead the way to a better, cleaner Earth.