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Pollution in Marine Environment
Because of human activity, many marine ecosystems are under threat. In particular, it concerns the pollution of marine waters. In their article, Duraisamy and Latha (2011) studied the pollution of the marine environment and concluded that pollution reduced the aesthetic and intrinsic value of the marine environment as well as threatened the survival of the marine flora and fauna. In addition, pollution has a direct impact on the human health, because people often eat seafood from contaminated regions. Such anthropogenic factor as wrong plastic garbage disposal harms the marine fauna greatly, and it can jeopardize their survival. In their research, Tarzia et al. (2002) explored the problem of human and natural soil pollution (including pollution by heavy metals) in Naples. Although they investigated the soil pollution, their statements are relevant to the topic of this work. They argued that the information about the anthropogenic pollution of the environment should be recorded and analyzed as it may affect the assessment of the risk of pollution in the future and help prevent pollution.
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Forms of Pollution
Today there are many different marine pollutants, which can be divided into chemical, physical, and bacteriological pollutants. Scientists have been investigating human-made pollutants and their impact on the environment and humans for many years. Weis (2014) studied different kinds of marine pollution in her book. She states that the products of industrial, agricultural, and chemical activity of people are not the only sources of water pollution. In general, the pollution can be divided into two major forms: natural pollution and anthropogenic pollution. These forms define the source and the root cause of a certain type of pollution.
Natural pollution is the pollution that can happen without human intervention. Natural pollution is not as vast and dangerous as anthropogenic, but it can also play a negative role in the lives of the marine residents. The natural contaminants include bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. They also include algae, lignin, yeast, and molds.
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A variety of anthropogenic pollutants is quite large, and for each region, the prevalence of a particular one of them is peculiar. The book by Farmer (2013) largely contributed to this study. The author divided anthropogenic pollution into the following groups:
- Pollution from the air. Various pesticides and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, copper, and zinc can enter from the atmosphere into the water.
- Garbage. Most of it is plastic. Derraik (2002) investigated the marine pollution by the plastic debris. In the research, he considered that the interaction of plastic waste with the marine animals confined to the situation when the inhabitants of the sea were caught in the garbage or ate polychlorinated biphenyls that were contained in the plastic, which led to their death.
- Heavy metals. Discharge of industrial wastewater, as well as pollution from urban sanitation, can lead to the accumulation of heavy metals. In addition, this may be caused by the burning of fossil fuels; this increases the concentration of mercury, which ultimately settles in the ocean. The action of heavy metals is particularly pernicious because many species of bivalves cannot survive in the conditions of such pollution. The most common heavy metals that contaminate the marine environment are arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc.
- Toxic organic substances. This group includes agricultural pesticides (organochlorine and organophosphorus), as well as some by-products of the industry (organochlorines).
- Oil. The oil spill is probably one of the most striking examples of marine pollution. Because of it, many species die from oxygen starvation or poisoning. In addition, when oil gets on the bird feathers, it prevents them from flying.
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- Sewerage. In addition to sewage runoff pollution of marine waters, it can lead to bacterial infection of people who spend time at the beach.
- Thermal pollution. Discharge of industrial cooling water can lead to higher sea temperatures, which can lead to the extinction of many species.
Ubiquitous debris that can be found on the beaches show that they are both a source and a signal of wider dissemination of marine pollution by persistent chemicals. In their research, Elliott J. and Elliott K. (2013) investigated the impact of marine pollution through the food chain of sea inhabitants. They considered that many components of pollutants are hydrophobic and absorbed into the plastic, which seabirds are often mistaken for food. If it does not kill them, then it at least greatly poisons them. Like the previous authors, Sul and Costa (2014) explored marine pollution, namely the pollution by the microplastics. They state that all living organisms in the marine environment are exposed to microplastics contamination since they are all linked by the same food chain. Consequently, the marine pollution should be the important part of scientific research in future.
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