Our Waters Are Home To Waste and Pollution
The oceans of our planet seem very vast and endless. Since man has taken to ships and traveled upon the seas they have thrown garbage, waste and human remains in it. Even hurricanes and tsunamis have picked up structures and living things and thrust them out into the water.
Various wars have been fought on the oceans and the leftovers of the devastation can still be found. WWII had many ships sunk and they still lie at the bottom, leaking oil, radiation and whatever. Oil spills continue into the waters and only a small number get media attention. Many more go unchecked. And of course the oceans are home to the various garbage and debris fields that keep getting bigger.
Water is Life
We take our waters for granted. Every day rubbish and waste products find their way into our waters and into our lives. We cannot live without water for any great length of time yet we pollute it as though it has no value. It is as we assume in the long run that it will be alright. Oil finds its way in through drilling and spilling, radiation from reactors, medicine and military uses and just plain garbage. Some waters have been changed so drastically that the old life forms that used to survive it it have died and new aggressive invasive ones have popped up. The ground waters are being contaminated with oil drilling and people are getting sick from that. Medication and other things are also finding their way into drinking water. It is said that flushing medicine down the toilet causes the problem. If flushing medicine down the toilet causes problems with drinking water than we have a bigger problem.
Farms Polluting Our Waters
With smaller farms animal manure was recycled. Today with large agricultural factory farms there is so much manure that it finds its way into our waters. Not only manure, but animal carcasses, animal feed, fertilizers and antibiotics to name a few. The farm contamination can bring diseases to humans like E-Coli, Salmonella and Listeria.
The Floating Debris
There is a floating debris field that was formed from the remnants washed out to sea by the Japanese tsunami in March 2011. Building parts, cars, tractors, remains of both humans and animals plus much more filth are a part of this floating garbage field. It is expected to reach the coast of Hawaii around March 2013 then it will find its way to the shores of the west coast of the U.S. and Canada in 2014. It will join with the already infamous Eastern Pacific Garbage patch. About five years later it will return even stronger to North America, mostly Hawaii once again.
The U.S. and Japan are tracking it to see how the different type and sizes of the garbage are affected by the wind, currents and weather. They need to study and find out how to best deal with it without making the situation worst.
The North Pacific garbage patch floats within the North Pacific gyre. it has two separate parts which are called separately the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches. It is said to be several thousands miles wide and the size of the U.S. and very deep. The gyre traps the debris within it because of its circular slow moving currents.
There is also a North Atlantic gyre that also has collected a multitude of floating non biodegradable plastics and other garbage and is called the North Atlantic garbage patch.
Coral which is very beautiful and supports various types of sea life are being killed off by illegal fishing. They use cyanide to stun the fish and kerosene bombs. This practice destroys the coral while killing many organisms including fish.
Our Oily Seas
One of Many Types of Pollution
Our waters have been polluted with oil for many years. WWII had many ships and tankers sank by both sides of the war. The International Maritime Organization estimates that there were 3,002 ships sunk in the North Atlantic. Of those, 452 were oil tankers. Some of those ships have been leaking oil for years. In Nigeria it is believed that over 546 million barrels of oil has been spilled since exploration started fifty years ago. The real number is unknown because some are not reported and have not been cleaned up. The Niger delta is full of oil causing health dangers to the population there.
After the BP oil spill I looked around to find out about other oil spills. I was familiar with the Exxon Valdez and some others but not all in totality. The BP oil spill is said to be the worst in history. They are not including the Kuwaiti oil spill of the first Gulf War because it was a deliberate spill. For the purpose of this lens we will include it because deliberate or not damage was done. That catastrophe was started by Iraqi troops in 1991. It was estimated to have deliberately released 11 million barrels or 462 million gallons of crude. The area still has not fully recovered.
This of course was not the first deliberate spill and won't be the last. The first major one occurred during World War II (1939-45), between January and June of 1942. German U-boat attacks on tankers off the East Coast of the United States spilled 590,000 tons of oil.
Even now sunken WW II era tankers are still leaking.There are approximately over 800 tankers in the waters and of course thousands of other ships.
It is claimed by some that oil spills are common place in oil rich places like Nigeria, ask the fishermen. Some claim that during the decades of oil drilling there has been 550 million gallons spilling into the Niger River Delta.
Do you think we could run out of clean water?
Books on Impact of Oil Spills
Radioactive Contaminated Water
Besides the debris field, over 2.5 million gallons of radioactive water was dumped into the Pacific ocean by the Tokyo Electric Power Company. (TEPCO) from the overheated Japanese Fukushima nuclear power plant. Some food was found to be contaminated with iodine-131 and cesium-137 nearby and even some contamination was found in Tokyo water. There is the danger not only from the country of origin but to other places. The ocean is fluid with fish following food sources and currents moving things further away from the source.