Causes and Effects of Aquatic Pollution

Topics: Waste, Petroleum, Pollution Pages: 5 (1790 words) Published: February 3, 2013
Aquatic pollution is a worldwide problem that occurs every day in all bodies of water. Adedeji and Adetunji (2011) refer to aquatic pollution as an addition of hazardous substances, called pollutants, to these bodies of water. These pollutants are harmful to humans, but more importantly, they are extremely harmful to marine life due to the contamination of their habitats. Unfortunately, this occurrence is not uncommon, and it is mainly the result of human activities. Most pollution is derived from industrial waste, which is eventually integrated into the ocean in the form of various pollutants. Aside from industrial waste, many other human activities also contribute to aquatic pollution, including littering at beaches and coastal areas where harmful or contaminant chemicals and particles are deposited into the ocean. These are only several of the countless ways in which the marine ecosystem can be disturbed, but the effects that aquatic pollution has are overwhelmingly harmful and should be taken into consideration.

All aquatic pollution contributes to the downfall of marine life, either directly or indirectly. For example, plastic that has been littered can entangle and strangle various marine animals, and when swallowed, it can be extremely harmful to their internal body systems. Plastic, along with other pollutants, such as sewage and wastewater, can destroy marine life. In addition, aquatic pollution not only diminishes the population of the organisms that consume the pollutants or are directly affected by them, but also the ones that consume those animals, harming the food chain as a whole (Shakoori and Yousafzai, 2011). Furthermore, once these pollutants have been deposited into a body of water, the pollutants are diffused and distributed throughout the ocean and pollutes it altogether. Thus, aquatic pollution has an immensely damaging impact on marine life.

Aquatic pollution can occur naturally, but there are various factors from human activities that accelerate the effects of it. The most common pollutants to which human activities contribute are sewage and wastewater, oil and petroleum, plastics and particles, and hazardous chemicals such as heavy metals (Day and Garrett, 2006). Adedeji and Adetunji (2011) wrote about Nigeria’s lack of waste management, how their mannerisms contribute to pollution, and how they should act in order to stop threatening the health of the environment. They believe that industrialization in Nigeria is the cause of numerous types of environmental contamination, including water pollution, because of industrial waste being discharged into rivers, directly polluting the water. Industries produce a considerable amount of sewage containing both organic waste, which can be purified, or inorganic heavy metals (Adedeji and Adetunji, 2011). There are many diseases originating from untreated waste, some of which are Nigeria’s most common killing diseases. For instance, every year, waste from slaughterhouses is also discharged into rivers, and the improperly managed released animal blood could lead to pathogens being transferred to humans, causing diseases (Adedeji and Adetunji, 2011). Nigeria produces about 19,000 tons of waste originating from various types of industries, causing the effluent concentration in Nigeria to be exceedingly high. Waste production in popular areas has also been influenced by increase in population (Adedeji and Adetunji, 2011). Over two thirds of the world’s population contributes to intoxicating the seas with waste, of which there is currently over 14 billion pounds in total (Dudley, 1999).

Nigeria has an increasingly high rate of oil production; however, between 1976 and 1996, there were reportedly 4,835 oil spills in Nigeria’s oil industry, 84.09% of which was lost and not recovered (Adedeji and Adetunji, 2011). Worldwide, about 8.8 million tons of oil are deposited into the ocean every year due to industrial pollution (Dudley, 1999). As a result of oil spills...
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