Environmentalism Chapter 18 – Ocean Pollution
How clean do you believe the oceans are? Well I would be lying if I actually said they are indeed crystal clean and even the deep crystal blue waters of the pacific, Indian and Mediterranean oceans that are teaming with thousands of aquatic life are polluted with many toxins and organisms that you cannot even see that are harmful to you, other aquatic marine life and to animals to botanical species on land from which the oceans often invade from coastal flooding and Tsunamis to ocean oil spills.
Just because the flags are up to on the beaches indicating that water toxicology tests have proven it’s safe to swim, these tests are only basic and are not necessarily all the time carried out by toxicologists to marine biologists.
One doesn’t have to be a conservationist to even a scientist to work out that the more earth’s population grows the more sewage and waste from our homes are produced and it’s now concerning many conservationists including ourselves International Animal Rescue Foundation © that have seen a vast impact of marine life wiped out just from what we call “liquid toxin” pollution.
Toxins from sewage plants are just the least of the oceans worries too, with super fuel tankers crossing sensitive areas of sensitive ocean biodiversity, along with floating drilling platforms and nuclear power plants emitting radioactive water to human sewage and debris waste, which is now reaching critical concern levels which one must act to prevent a large scale catastrophe such as the 2010 BP PLC Deep Sea Horizon leak that saw billions of dollar;s of damages caused to land, and thousands of fish, to avian life washed up dead on the oceans. BP PLC now has to pay in compensation $7.8bn to resolve economic and medical claims from more than 100,000 businesses and individuals hurt by the nation’s worst offshore oil spill. The settlement has no cap and the company could end up paying more or less.
In the early 1950’s to 1960’s ocean cleanliness was fairly top grade with pollution being low key to a degree, although still present and high in nations of which were mainly third world nations, and large industrial continents from America to Asia, pollution levels where not that high to what we are seeing today. As a conservationist too and I have to be truthful I wouldn’t allow my children to swim in half of “shoreline” oceans to date because I am more than aware of what lurks beneath and on top.
Taking a look at China the total sewage discharge per billion tons has not really changed at all, and from census we could find they all measure up to exactly the same with only the year of 1996 missing.
China’s total sewage per billion tons of discharge I have recorded below, I have picked China as this nation is the top polluter with India and America second although America is trying to halve it’s pollution its a slow laborious process.
- 1990 350 billion tons of sewage discharged into the ocean
- 1991 320 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
- 1992 360 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
- 1993 340 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
- 1994 370 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
- 1995 368 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
- 1996 ——————–NO RECORD———————————
- 1997 415 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
- 1998 400 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
- 1999 404 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
- 2000 403 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
- 2001 409 billion tons of sewage discharged in to the ocean
In 2001, more than 173 000 km2 of the Chinese coastal waters were of a quality less than Class I of the Sea Water Quality Standard of China (SWQS, GB3097-1997) (17–26). Very heavily polluted areas, worse than Class IV of SWQS, cover about 32 000 km2, and are mainly close to medium and large cities and estuaries with high population densities.
Very heavy pollution areas increased by 4000 km2 compared to the year 2000. Contamination from land runoff is the most significant contributor to coastal environmental pollution at present. The dominating pollutants are inorganic nitrogen, phosphate, oil hydrocarbons, organic matter, and heavy metals.
Although the volume of runoff from industrial effluent into coastal waters has been decreasing slightly since 1999, municipal sewage and other runoff from land show an increasing trend. In 2000, red tide events occurred 28 times involving an area of 10 000 km2, and 77 times in 2001 affecting 15 000 km2. If pollution from inorganic nitrogen is classified as slight, moderate, or very heavy, the 2001 figures for coastal ocean areas are about 25 000 km2, 14 490 km2, and 32 490 km2,respectively.
Red tide events are not though just occurring in China anymore, in 2012 Australia and Hungry saw red tide events that the media marked down as “a phenomena” just to keep the public satisfied that the waters where indeed OK (that’s misleading and also very dangerous) reporting of which the truth should have been told which I have added below.
“There are no really historical records of the volume and type of material that was spilled in the oceans before the establishment of an anti-dumping law. However, it is estimated that in 1968, 38 million tons of excavated material, 4.5 million tons of industrial waste, 4.5 million sewage sludge, 100 million tons of petroleum-based product (plastic), 2 to 4 tonnes of chemical waste, more than 1 million tons of heavy metals were released into the ocean. The U.S. archive shows that between 1946 and 1970 over 55,000 containers of radioactive waste were disposed in 3 sites of dumping of the Pacific Ocean. In addition, 34,000 tons of radioactive wastes were disposed in 3 sites of dumping of the U.S. east coast between 1951 and 1962. No law on dumping radioactive waste has been put into force before 1972.” – Source : Epa : united states environnemental agency
The total amount of industrial sewage from 11 provinces along the coast of China was 10.02 billion tonnes (t) in 1999, of which 3.67 billion t were directly discharged into the sea. Sewage quantities into Chinese seas were 0.56 billion t in Bohai, 0.71 billion t in the Yellow Sea, 1.48 billion t in ECS, and 0.92 billion t in the South China Sea. The ECS received 40.3% of total industrial effluent and as such was the largest recipient of industrial effluent in China.
Factual data taken from (Report of the state of the Environment for China 1990)
Reports for 2012 have quoted the following for the state of China and basic pollution performance which is listed below;
- Underground water in 57 per cent of monitoring sites across Chinese cities have been found polluted or extremely polluted, the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper run by Xinhua News Agency, reported on Monday, quoting figures from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). (please note this is for underground sources)
- 2012 – In the first half of last year, of the seven main water systems in China, only the Yangtze and Pearl rivers had good water quality, and the Haihe River in north China was heavily polluted, with the others all moderately polluted, according to the MEP. This is what caused most “red tides” to occur that I shall explain more briefly on.
- China has quoted “China recently unveiled the 2011-2015 guidelines on fighting water pollution in which it stated the goal that 60 per cent of the country’s major rivers and lakes should be clean enough to be sources of drinking water supply by the end of 2015. This International Animal Rescue Foundation finds very difficult to understand as of the colossal rise in air, land and sea pollutants that have risen from 2010-2012 making China the number one top polluter with India the second and the United States of America the third which we do find annoying considering America is within the one of the world renowned nations for high class technology, that can easily bring these levels down, the Obama administration though has failed drearily so far.
- China also likes to “hide their problems” on a classified report [unnamed] in 2012 the Chinese government demanded that the United States ceases all publication of air, land and sea pollutants which is more than worrying. Please view the statement “Last month, Chinese officials issued a general warning to foreign embassies, (but really aimed at the U.S.) to stop publishing reports about their country’s air, and sea quality.
- According to the Environmental Performance Index, a bi-annual report put out by Yale University and Columbia University that ranks countries based on a number of environmental factors, India ranked last out of 132 countries. Yet, China wasn’t far off, coming in at 128. Its overall index rank, which, along with air quality, included factors such as water, agriculture, and climate change, was 116. (India came in at 125).
- Government statistics from 2009 reveal that nearly 20 per cent of the length of China’s monitored rivers and lakes had pollution worse than Grade 5, making the water officially unfit for even irrigating crops, Reuters reported.
Why doesn’t China like a certain Twitter account reporting on this? Please view below
“Part of the reason the Chinese government is so irked at the U.S. reporting pollution data is that their pollution standards are more stringent which means pollution levels considered unhealthy in the U.S. are often classified as good by China”. (Do you really wish to visit China?)
Moving to Australia which to be honest is a fairly densely populated island being the second largest in the world with Greenland being the first at 840,000 square miles (2,175,590 km2).
The main problems that effect Australia’s coasts are poor water and sediment quality, land pollution is the main problem here within Australia that effects ecology, health and basic overall enjoyment of the Australian oceans to date. Action must be taken now to prevent land-based sources of sediment, nutrient and pesticide pollution from further damaging in-shore reefs, aquatic life and tourism enjoyment.
Oil spills and vessel discharges cause around 12% of coastal problems with relation to the entire island of Australia, and according to a study by the US National Research Council, 36% of oil comes down drains and rivers as waste and run-off from cities and industry so in reality most of the oceans problems with regards to coastal pollution are due to land based problems that need addressing or we are going to see a global ocean soon with nothing a living aquatic species within it.
However in many parts of the world, sewage flows untreated, or under-treated into the ocean. For example, 80% of urban sewage discharged into the Mediterranean Sea is untreated. Although this is less common in Australia, treated sewage is discharged into coastal and marine environments and, when sewage infrastructure fails, raw sewage can flow untreated into our marine environments.
Australia’s waters are not as clean as one thinks they are even if the flags are up and the waters are crystal clear and this is because of governmental legislation that is seeing sea waste dumped in the oceans rather than landfills “on average” Australia currently regulates the deliberate loading, dumping and incineration of waste at sea under the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981 and the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment Act 1986. The waters surrounding Australia’s coastline are increasingly threatened by pollution from wastes dumped at sea. To reduce this threat, there are Australian Government laws that control dumping at sea, however these are not always being followed.
Permits from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities are required for all sea dumping operations. Currently, about 30 permits are issued in Australia per year, mainly for the dumping of uncontaminated dredge spoil. Applications can be obtained from the Department or the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (if the dumping is to take place within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park). In our eyes there should be “NO” dumping at sea even if the waste is incinerated or non-toxic. We are trying to work to protect our aquatic biodiversity and although this incinerated waste breaks down by far much more quickly, it is still aiding to the pollution of our marine biodiversity.
International Animal Rescue Foundation © can fully understand the reasons “why” dumping at sea is undertaken, however to keep one’s land clear and green by dumping at sea is not solving the problem of “WASTE” and by simply following the three R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle) there would be minimal dumping. Dumping incinerated waste of the coast line has it’s perks but we’ve noticed that the permit prices to carry out such waste removal have skyrocketed, and this can only mean one thing which is “the government are now concerned at the toxic levels of waste, harm to the great barrier reef’s and PH levels that are increasing alarmingly.
Within India though where nearly 250 million people live within 50 km of India’s 8,000 km coastline, eighty-seven cities and towns located in these coastal areas together dump 5.5 billion litres of waste water into the sea every day. Less than a tenth of this water is treated, making the scale of pollution of our coastal ecosystems daunting and horrifyingly concerning with regards to protected aquatic species, and living reef beds.
Most of India’s 8,000-km-long coastal regions are low-lying and densely populated, with nearly 250 million people living within 50 km of the coast, many of them in the 130 cities and towns that together form the engine of India’s economy, including Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Goa, Surat, and Thiruvananthapuram. Between 20-60% of the population in these individual settlement zones live in slums where they pursue their livelihood, and this section is automatically located in areas most vulnerable to natural disasters areas that are already subject to periodic flooding.
At the same time, they are surrounded by a web of infrastructure that is becoming denser and more valuable every year transport and freight networks, road and rail corridors, industrial zones and parks, maritime and port facilities, petroleum industries and refineries, import-based industrial and commercial domains all located in coastal areas and competing for land and water with villages that have long depended on coastal resources for survival. That survival has always been relatively easy since coastal regions are home to a rich and varied biodiversity, they have had abundant rain-fed and groundwater resources, and they depended commercially on old trading centres. As the settlement mix changed, and as land use did too, India’s coastal talukas, tehsils and blocks either merged with a creeping mantle of urbanisation or warred with it. Either way, complex coastal ecosystems suffered.
Can you name this reptilian? it took me 5-6 attempts after removing with my eyes the debris pollution.
Municipal waste water constitutes the largest single source of coastal marine pollution. The Central Pollution Control Board estimates that 87 cities and towns located in India’s coastal areas in nine states together emit more than 5.5 billion litres of waste water per day, which is almost 80% of their total water supply (the estimate in million litres per day, or MLD, which is the measure that water resource and pollution control authorities use, is 5,560.99 MLD). This is a staggering volume of fluid, equivalent to a third of the total quantity of waste water generated by 644 Class I cities and Class II towns in the entire country.
It is also 2.5 times the volume of waste water (about 2.2 billion litres/day) that the same 87 cities generated two decades ago. Of the 5.5 billion litres/day — less than a tenth (521.51 MLD) — is treated to any level before being released into coastal waters. The three states of Maharashtra (45%), West Bengal (26%) and Tamil Nadu (9%) account for the bulk of waste water flushed into our coastal seas, while about 3.22 billion litres/day of waste water flow into the Arabian Sea and about 2.33 billion litres/day flow into the Bay of Bengal.
Toxins have risen within the sea from the 1960’s to date which is primarily due to “over population” and until this is properly conveyed across the globe to all humans then we will see more pollutants enter the ocean as of demand for agricultural and factory processed products to fossil fuels, and chemical radioactive energy.
Toxins that are located in today’s oceans are listed below.
- Plastic pollution
- Agricultural pollution such as phosphorus, nitrogen, mercury, lead, and carbon plus more.
- Oil, petroleum, methane, paint, radioactive poisons
- Human excrement
- Chemical weapons (Yes they are present in today’s oceans)
- Debris pollution
- Fishing pollution
- Thermal pollution, and eutrophication
These eight pollutants are found most commonly within the oceans to date and are causing massive biodiversity damage plus are harming ourselves that eat fish stock to.
Plankton, which is the tiny animals at the bottom of the food chain in the oceans, absorbs the chemicals as they feed. They do not break down easily, so the chemicals accumulate in these organisms, becoming more concentrated in their bodies than the surrounding water or soil. Plankton is eaten by small animals, and the contaminants become even more concentrated. It goes on as smaller animals are in turn eaten by larger animals, each link up the food chain becoming more heavily contaminated than the last.
Seals, for example can have contamination levels millions of times higher than the water in which they live. Polar bears, which feed on seals, can have contamination levels up to 3 billion times higher than their environment.
Fishermen themselves see this contamination first hand. Fish with horrible tumors are becoming the normal catch of the day, so to speak. How do you want your mercury today? Broiled, fried, poached or grilled. ‘Would you like fries with your gamma fish?’
Food chain contamination;
Humans become contaminated directly from chemical household products, eating heavily processed food laced with chemical preservatives or eating contaminated seafood and animal fats. Even those “Highly Touted” health foods such as Krill, Plankton, Seaweed, and Sea Salt have varying degrees of contamination. The FDA discovered that the famous “Coral Calcium” was heavily contaminated with lead, as well as other heavy metals, and only had an absorption rate of 8 – 10%.
Contrary to what you have been told, the evidence is mounting that many man-made chemicals can and will cause serious health problems. These problems include cancer, damage to the immune system, behavioural problems, and reduced fertility, just to name a few.
The bottom line is that you should stay away from anything that is produced from the ocean. Isn’t it bad enough that we get these contaminants first-hand on land, without absorbing even more chemicals and dangerous pollutants from food from the ocean?
Thermal pollution, and eutrophication;
Thermal pollution: Electrical generating plants along the ocean coastlines use the marine waters for cooling purposes which leads to heated water expelled into the marine environment. Few studies have been done on the effects of thermal pollution on the marine environment. Thermal pollution seems to only affect the communities immediately adjacent to the discharge. Thermal discharge is most noted in the tropical areas, where organisms are near their thermal maximum. For example, mangrove trees in a thermal heated bay no longer reproduce and no new seedlings can be found in the lagoon.
Eutrophication: The release of excess nutrients into coastal waters. Fertilizers used on land are washed into the ocean via rivers and streams. High nutrient concentrations cause phytoplankton blooms such as, red tides, various yellow and green foams, slimes, and slicks. Although algal blooms are natural, a higher frequency of their occurrence in the past twenty years indicates an unhealthy ecosystem. The toxicity of recent blooms is increasing, which can have a direct effect on the organisms that feed on them. Also, phytoplankton naturally contains DMS (dimethyl sulfide) which is released from dead phytoplankton into the atmosphere and can be changed to sulfuric acid to eventually contribute to acid rain.
Radioactive waste (plutonium and fries anyone?)
Radioactive waste: The world’s oceans have been a sink for radioactive waste from the production of nuclear weapons and electric power since 1944. Radioactive waste enters the ocean from nuclear weapon testing, the releasing or dumping of wastes from nuclear fuel cycle systems, and nuclear accidents. Dumping of high-level radioactive waste is no longer permitted in the ocean, but dumping of low-level wastes is still permitted. Low-level waste contains fewer radioactivities per gram than high-level waste. High-level wastes usually have longer half-lives. For example, one common high-level waste that is produced by spent nuclear fuel has a half-life of 24,100 years! It has been suggested that contained nuclear waste should be disposed in the deep sea, so little is known about the deep sea environment or the consequences of containment leakage and failure, that the effects could be devastating.
Recently though we have been viewing red seas or rivers that the media have named as “natural phenomena” it’s not a natural phenomenon at all what it is, is high pollution levels and if your living in an area where this has happened on my advice I really wouldn’t bother eating any “fish or crustaceans” from these areas at all.
Red tides (I) & (II)
Red tides or the red sea as it is better known is a mixture of some million cubic meters of corrosive sludge, there really is not much known about how it forms other than a change of climate patterns and algae formations to the dumping of toxic chemicals in the waters that have then accumulated through climatic interference into the a red type sea.
One such incident occurred in 2010 in near Ajka, Hungary that saw a dam filled with toxic chemicals burst its banks then flowing onto neighboring land. The tide once receded appeared to some as if the bottoms of the trees had been painted red. In fact it was the sludge of toxic chemicals that had formed and stuck to the trees causing not just botanical and agricultural damage but also much damage to the surrounding lands from which people in the area cannot plant on no more.
The toxic chemicals that were being held by the dam in Ajka held a mixture of bauxite ore that was the chemical properties that made up aluminium oxide or alumina, iron oxide was also present hence the reason why the “stain to the water was evident” as this is the colour of iron oxide, however it also contained a more dangerous chemical better known as alkaline sodium hydroxide used to dissolve aluminium oxide. These metals are used in everyday factory processing and to know that they have breached the clean water supplied to us and also entered into the marine world then this is highly concerning, and it’s happening more frequently around the world that many people are still unaware of. Other chemical that are entering are gypsum plaster, and as explained chemical fertilisers and these can all cause cancer.
When the red tide appears its fairly “unsafe in the water to humans” I use the word unsafe as it’s very toxic to aquatic life and stays embedded in the sea or river bead that can kill if ingested. However should there be flooding, tsunami, to high tide and it reaches land such as Hungary once it dries then it release a “toxic powder in to the air”. Everyone within the vicinity then has to be re-homed due to the dangers that it can cause to human health.
We must as a responsible human race now take responsibility for our oceans, rivers and lakes, if not then we are not just killing the species within, but those that wish to consume fish and shell fish are exposing themselves to highly dangerous chemicals that can and will kill.
Red Tides (Natural) (II)
Red tide is a common name for a phenomenon known as an algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms) when it is caused by a few species of dinoflagellates and the bloom takes on a red or brown color. Red tides are events in which estuarine, marine, or fresh water algae accumulate rapidly in the water column, resulting in coloration of the surface water. It is usually found in coastal areas.
(Please though don’t always listen to the press and media as they mostly obtain their scientific data incorrectly)
Dr J C Dimetri V.M.D, B.E.S, Ma, PhD, MEnvSc
PLEASE DONATE BELOW – URGENT RHINOCEROS APPEAL POACHING NOW AT 2-3 A DAY FEBRUARY 2013 = 57 DEAD
WHY ARE THEY DYING? THE DEATHS ARE STILL ONGOING BAFFLING US ALL
Hungary 2010 TOTAL WIPE-OUT (Toxic red sludge)