The world's worst plastic waste polluters have been named and shamed
as humans dump millions of tonnes into the oceans each year.
Countries with coastlines were found to have dumped 8 MILLION
tonnes of plastic waste into the sea in 2010, scientists estimated.
Double that amount is likely to be cast into the sea each year
by 2025, generating a cumulative total in 10 years' time of
155 million tonnes, the experts predict.
Waste plastic may leach out harmful persistent chemicals such as
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) that can spread through the food
web, potentially ending up in humans.
The Pacific garbage patch is now in five separate locations
and this is only the floating stuff . Much more has sunk .
"After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,"
"We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of
rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big
tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.
"I've done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I'm used
to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding
birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing
alive to be seen."
In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.
"Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a
couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked
up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea.
And it's still out there, everywhere you look."
Ivan's brother, Glenn, who boarded at Hawaii for the run into
the United States, marvelled at the "thousands on thousands"
of yellow plastic buoys. The huge tangles of synthetic rope,
fishing lines and nets. Pieces of polystyrene foam by the million.
And slicks of oil and petrol, everywhere.
Countless hundreds of wooden power poles are out there, snapped
off by the killer wave and still trailing their wires in the
middle of the sea.
"In years gone by, when you were becalmed by lack of wind, you'd
just start your engine and motor on," Ivan said.
Not this time.
"In a lot of places we couldn't start our motor for fear of
entangling the propeller in the mass of pieces of rope and cable.
That's an unheard of situation, out in the ocean.
"If we did decide to motor we couldn't do it at night, only in
the daytime with a lookout on the bow, watching for rubbish.
From overfishing to deforestation to destroying wildlife habitat,
human actions are interfering with the balance of nature.
Biodiversity is key to our flourishing; by contributing to
the destruction of species we might as well be gnawing off our own legs.
Even worse is the dumping of nuclear waste .
From 1946 through 1993, thirteen nuclear capable countries used
the ocean as an ends to dispose of nuclear/radioactive waste.
The waste materials included industrial, medical and weapons,
both liquids and solids housed in various containers, as well
as reactor vessels, with and without spent or damaged nuclear fuel.
The United States alone dumped vast quantities of nuclear material
off its coasts between 1946 and 1970—more than 110,000 containers.
It's all enough to make you sick .... very sick !
While the most common water pollution diseases involve poisoning
episodes affecting the digestive system and human infectious
diseases, water pollution may cause a large variety of health
Infectious diseases caused by pathogens (usually microorganisms)
from animal fecal origins, of which the most common occur in
developing countries involving:
Diseases caused by polluted beach water including:
Stomach craps and aches
Liver damage and even cancer (due to DNA damage) – caused by a
series of chemicals (e.g., chlorinated solvents, MTBE)
Kidney damage caused by a series of chemicals
Neurological problems - damage of the nervous system – usually
due to the presence of chemicals such as pesticides (i.e., DDT)
Reproductive and endocrine damage including interrupted sexual
development, inability to breed, degraded immune function,
decreased fertility and increase in some types of cancers
– caused by a series of chemicals including endocrine disruptors
Thyroid system disorders (a common example is exposure through
perchlorate which is a chemical contaminating large water bodies
such as Colorado River)
Increased water pollution creates breeding grounds for malaria
-carrying mosquitoes killing 1.2-2.7 million people a year
A series of less serious health effects could be associated
by bathing into contaminated water (i.e, polluted beach water)
Water pollution can affect us:
Directly – through consumption or bathing in a polluted stream
(that involve consumption of municipal water, as well as bathing
in polluted lakes or beach water).
Indirectly – through the consumption of vegetables irrigated with
contaminated water, as well as of fish or other animals that live
in the polluted water or consume animals grown in the polluted water.
This is many times more dangerous than being directly affected
through consumption of water because some pollutants bioaccumulate
in fish and living organisms (their concentration in fish could
be several orders of magnitude higher than their water concentration)
Additionally the toxins from the brown tide are strong and can
travel via air affecting homeowners close to the beach.
The most common ways of polluting the water include:
directly into waste-streams
in the land from which contaminants may leach into the groundwater
Urban and agricultural runoff;
Animal wastes could also add dangerous pathogens
(usually microbial groups, viruses and intestinal parasites)
From air via acid rain - water can get polluted with air contaminants
(that have sometimes traveled long distances – such as the case of Hg)
that reach the land and water via acid rain (during precipitation,
air pollutants may get dissolved in the water drops and as a result
they may acidify the water which is why the polluted rain water is
referred to as “acid rain”).
According to a Cornell University study (available at www.springerlink.com...
water pollution accounts for 80% of all infectious diseases!