Originally published in The Gulf News
The oceans are our biggest resource supporting the greatest abundance of life on our planet. A rich oxygen source, the oceans provide livelihood, recreation, beauty and are an important source of protein in our daily diet. Yet, these life-giving oceans are our biggest dumping ground too. The paradox that we can continue to tap into the ocean’s abundant resources and yet put all our garbage in, very well expecting it to thrive on indefinitely has taken its toll on life in the ocean paving the way to near extinction.
The dying off of marine life around the globe is not as mysterious if we take a look into the unethical practices and inhumane activities contributing to this environmental hazard.
Overfishing is having serious impacts on the marine plethora. We are not only working towards wiping out species but also starving marine animals that are dependent upon fish for their survival. Unconventional fishing methods used are causing destruction to sea floor habitat and scooping up of unwanted fish that are conveniently tossed aside into the water are adding to the trouble.
Shark finning is an inhumane practice resulting in an extraordinary impact on the marine ecosystem.
Rising sea temperatures and depleting oxygen in the water, dropping the ocean’s pH levels, as a result of global climate change and burning fossil fuels are driving marine creatures towards the poles into habitats that are smaller and less inhabitable.
Pollution is running rampant in the oceans with coal-fired power plants being the largest industrial source polluting water bodies with its industrial waste – mercury. Mercury is absorbed by organisms on the bottom of the food chain and works its way up the food chain right into our dinner plate. Adding to this woe is the ever increasing plastic and other garbage littering the oceans as is the case of the giant patch of’ plastic soup ‘ that sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Are we a race of people who destroy more than we build? After dying fish and dying oceans, could we be next?