The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, also called the BP Oil Spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill or the Macondo blowout, is getting a lot of attention as the largest oil spill in history and certainly the largest environmental disaster in the making. What people fail to realize is that the oceans have been getting polluted from other sources for a lot longer and that pollution is largely ignored. I want to quickly point out some of those sources just to heighten your awareness of them.
Garbage from Sea-Going Vessels
People that go on luxury cruises have no idea of the amount of garbage that comes from sea-going vessels. While I’ve never been on a cruise (and I never want to go on one), and I have no way of knowing how they dispose of their garbage, I do have experience with naval vessels.
Where do you think the human waste and garbage goes? Do you think they store it on the ship and dispose of it after docking at a port? I can’t speak for the cruise lines, but I know what I observed while I was aboard US Navy ships. The refuse from the mess deck found its way off the ship by being thrown overboard in plastic bags (with holes in them so they would sink). Non-food trash was disposed of in the same way. I know don’t about the sewage, but I’m sure it was flushed into the open sea.
Pollution Coming from the Land
It’s not a secret that a lot of pollution from rivers and streams makes its way to the oceans. Sewage and chemicals from factories are dumped into the rivers and eventually get to the oceans. It has to go somewhere, right? Some of that pollution doesn’t even get there by way of the rivers; some of it’s dumped directly into the oceans.
One of the reasons me and my wife had an extra-large septic tank built for our house is that we didn’t want to contribute to the sewage being dumped into the creek next to our house. That creek feeds into a river, along with other creeks, and that river is nasty.
The Resilience of the Oceans
As a race of human beings on this planet, we are extremely lucky that the oceans have the capability of neutralizing most naturally-occurring pollution (like the non-paper part of sewage). Unfortunately, it doesn’t fare so well against man-made pollutants.
Most individuals are not intentionally behaving in environmentally unfriendly ways. It’s the industries run by the huge money-grubbing corporations that are mostly at fault. Businesses should be responsible for proper waste disposal, regardless of where they happen to be on this planet. A lot of fingers get pointed at America, but America isn’t the biggest offender now and it certainly isn’t the only industrialized nation with access to the sea.
I’ve just touched on some of the sources of pollution. My goal, in this instance, is to make you aware that oil spills aren’t the only things to worry about. When the prices of fish continue to rise and the incidences of toxic food poisoning continue to increase, it’s directly attributable to the man-made pollution ending up in our oceans.