Is it too late to save the ocean?

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A group of surfers off the Santa Barbara Coast. Photo by Amanda Roesser

The ocean may not be able to hold out much longer as over 80% of marine pollution comes from land activities. According to WWF Global oil, fertilizers, garbage, sewage disposal, and toxic chemicals pollute the ocean daily; and the pollution does not seem to be stopping. The amount of pollution affecting the ocean currently, can affect what the ocean holds for us in the future, and the rest of the world’s biodiversity.

According to a survey done by the NOAA, most ocean pollution begins on land, and the biggest source is nonpoint source pollution. Nonpoint source pollution includes a plethora of small sources, but the main source is motor vehicle engines, which drop oil each day onto roads and parking lots. The oil then finds its way into the ocean, harming animals and humans.

“Ocean pollution is a serious issue and not a lot of people are aware of the scale that it’s on. Something like the great pacific garbage patch is not commonly known which is shocking and even if people knew about it’s extremely overwhelming as to how to help or what they could do.” Said Kyra McMahon, a junior at the University of Denver. “But there are a lot of awesome small efforts being made like the Seabin project. Starting on a small scale and supporting or donating to projects like this is much easier for people to wrap their heads around.”

Projects to clean up the ocean have not been scarce. Seabin and Ocean Cleanup are privately funded companies that work on creating technology to help pick up drifting trash in the ocean, and have been successful since their founding.

However, private companies are not the only organizations attempting to clean up the ocean. According to NOAA, each year the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, and other federal agencies spend millions of dollars to protect and repair areas affected or endangered by nonpoint source pollution.

“Yes, ocean pollution is a tragedy and it is unfortunate that is an environmental issue, but the ocean pollution at this point in time is so extremely large, that even if we used all our resources, we wouldn’t even make a dent in it.” Said Brielle Durant, also a junior at the University of Denver. “It is so beyond what we could do to help.”

Unfortunately, many people have this mindset, with volunteers at beach cleanups declining. Data from a local San Diego beach cleanup show that the total weight of debris being collected at these events has declined, due to a lack of volunteers. In 2010, 4.97 lbs. of trash was collected, however in 2014, that number declined to 3.43 lbs.

“I’m sad about ocean pollution. I think that people should probably be more diligent about their waste, considering that even a small amount of ocean pollution can really disturb the worlds biodiversity.” Said Joseph Morrison, a sophomore at the University of Denver.

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Kyra McMahon, Junior, International Studies

Question: How do you feel about ocean pollution?

“Ocean pollution is a serious issue and not a lot of people are aware of the scale that it’s on. Something like the great pacific garbage patch is not commonly known which is shocking and even if people knew about it’s extremely overwhelming as to how to help or what they could do.But there are a lot of awesome small efforts being made like the Seabin project. Starting on a small scale and supporting or donating to projects like this is much easier for people to wrap their heads around.”

Time and place of interview: Mustard’s Last Stand, Denver. Thursday, Apr. 21, 2016.

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Brielle Durant, Junior, Journalism

Question: How do you feel about ocean pollution?

“Yes, ocean pollution is a tragedy and it is unfortunate that is an environmental issue, but the ocean pollution at this point in time is so extremely large, that even if we used all our resources, we wouldn’t even make a dent in it. It is so beyond what we could do to help.”

Time and place of interview: Mustard’s Last Stand, Denver. Thursday, Apr. 21, 2016.

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Joseph Morrison, Sophomore, Theatre

Question: How do you feel about ocean pollution?

“I’m sad about ocean pollution. I think that people should probably be more diligent about their waste, considering that even a small amount of ocean pollution can really disturb the worlds biodiversity.”

Time and place of interview: Anderson Academic Commons, University of Denver. Thursday, Apr. 21, 2016.

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2 thoughts on “Is it too late to save the ocean?

  1. Great article on a topic that clearly needs way more attention drawn upon it. It’s pretty terrifying to think that we can never fully reverse all of the damage people have done to contaminate our waters. In my political science class we are studying a lot on the topic of climate change and I recently read an article for the course that stated that the rising water temperatures and water acidification in addition to the water already polluted is moving at a rate 10x faster than anticipated. I can’t imagine what oceans and ocean life will become over the coming years.

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  2. I love this! I did my report on a similar topic, overfishing, and I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’re saying. However, I had no idea what nonpoint solution was or that cars actually contribute that much oil to ocean pollution. It definitely makes you think about what we can do to further reduce our carbon footprint – something as simple as cars leaking into the ocean shouldn’t be going on. Great job with this!

    Like

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