World Wildlife Day, is celebrated every year on March 3 as proclaimed by the United Nations on 20 December 2013.
Acidification, Plastic Pollution and Death are Our Gifts to Marine Life

The goal of this day is to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. World Wildlife Day has now become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife.

World Wildlife Day will be celebrated in 2019 under the theme “Life below water: for people and planet", which aligns with goal 14 of UN Sustainable Development Goals. So, this year is dedicated to marine life and its benefits and threats. The ocean contains nearly 200,000 identified species, but real number might be more than million. 

Another important fact about marine life is the market. The market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at US$3 trillion per year, about 5% of global GDP and more than three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. 

Marine wildlife plays a key role for human civilization and development for million years, from providing food and nourishment, to material for handicraft and construction.

Some facts about marine life

  • Ocean pollution kills more than one million sea birds each year.
  • Discarded fishing nets kill approximately 300,000 dolphins and porpoises every year. The dolphins and porpoises get tangled in the nets and die.
  • Much of the waste that is dumped into the ocean will wash up on the coast polluting everything it comes into contact with, including beaches, animals, and sea life.
  • There is an ocean garbage site off the coast of California twice as large as the state of Texas. It is called the North Pacific Gyre and is the largest garbage site in the ocean in the world
  • Although oil spills pollute the ocean, they only account for approximately 12% of the oil polluting the ocean.
  • Toxic metals reach the ocean and contribute to ocean pollution, destroying reproduction, behavior, growth and the biochemistry of the ocean's marine life.
  • Radioactive waste and industrial waste such as acids and toxins often reach the ocean adding to the pollution and substantial loss of marine life.
  • The ocean's oxygen content is depleted by the runoff of fertilizer that causes an increase of algae growth.
  • There are dead zones in the oceans that have been created by pollution making life in those zones impossible for marine or plant life.
  • It is estimated that every square mile of ocean has more than 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.
  • There are 25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.
  • According to a study done by the University of Georgia, 18 billion pounds of plastic trash winds up in our oceans each year.
  • A recent survey found ocean pollution is more common in deep waters (more than 2,000 feet deep), with the most common offenders being plastic bags, metal cans, fishing equipment, glass bottles, shoes, and tires.
  • Approximately 4 billion pounds of trash per year enters the ocean.
  • There are about 500 dead zones in the ocean, which covers a similar size as the United Kingdom.
  • Over 100,000 marine animals die every year from plastic entanglement and ingestion.
  • Carbon emissions harm the oceans as well as the air. If our behavior continues as is, the surface water of the ocean could be 150% more acidic than it is now.
  • Oil spills only contribute to 12% of the oil in the ocean. 36% of the oil comes from runoff sources from cities and companies.
  • Ocean noise pollution is an issue, too. Ships, tankers, and shipping containers emit sounds like high-intensity sonar and air guns. This noise pollution injures fish, disrupts their habitats, and more.
  • China and Indonesia are the world’s biggest contributors of plastic pollution in the ocean.
Combined, they account for one-third of total ocean pollution.
  • The waste in the ocean takes a long, long time to decompose. Styrofoam takes 80 years, aluminum takes 200 years, and plastic takes 400 years.
  • There’s enough plastic in the ocean to circle the Earth 400 times.
  • Chemicals in heavily polluted waters can make their way back to us and cause serious health issues like reproductive problems, hormonal problems, kidney damage, and nervous system damage.
  • Acidification, Plastic Pollution and Death are Our Gifts to Marine Life

    6 major threats for marine life

    1. Ship Strikes

    Ship strikes are the leading culprit in the disappearance of the North Atlantic Right Whale. The Right Whale is only one of many marine mammal species that is at risk of being hit by high-speed ships. Over 90 manatees die prematurely due to ship strikes every year in Florida according to some researches.

    2. Acoustic Pollution

    To navigate their way through the ocean whales and dolphins rely on acoustics. These mammals need to this sound for communication, mating, foraging, and migration. The addition of loud noises from ships, sonar, drilling rigs, and other human sources can distort messages sent by marine mammals. Scientists believe that acoustic noise pollution prevents these mammals from being able to detect approaching ships or fishing nets, adding to the risk of being killed.

    3. Fishing Net Problem

    Two common types of fishing methods are trawling and gillnetting that involve running extremely long lengths of fishing net through open water. These nets are usually left in the sea and have been devastating to sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, and whales that accidentally get caught in them.

    4. Oil Spills and Ocean Acidification

    Oil spills that cause ocean acidification, have both short term and long term effects on marine mammals. Toxic chemicals in oil causes serious damage to the digestive system and internal organs of sea creatures like seals, otters, dolphins and so on. In the long term, exposure to petroleum can cause reproductive damage, making it difficult for populations to repopulate in the wake of oil spills.

    5. Agricultural and Industrial Runoff

    Fertilizer and pesticide runoff and industrial wastes from across the world pose a serious threat to marine mammal’s ecosystems. Runoff is especially problematic in coastal regions where the excess nitrogen from fertilizer can spawn massive algae blooms that deplete water of oxygen creating a “dead zone” for fish. “Death is the result of this runoff for ocean creatures”.

    6. Global Warming

    Global warming due to climate change effects highly on the lives of marine mammals, especially in the Arctic. This is because of habitat loss that is slowly melting away. So, mammals like the ringed seal must find new places to give birth and raise their young. The other effect of climate change is that the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and due to this global waters are becoming more acidic. This effect interrupts the food chain, leaving larger marine mammals without food sources, causing major damage to marine ecosystems across the entire world!


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