Our oceans cover approximately 75% of the planet Earth. A distinct percent of our food resources come from these waters including fish and plants. The air around us is what keeps the flame of life from fading and flickering out. Why would anyone pollute these precious parts of our ecosystem? Well they are, and pollution laws should be strengthened and vigorously enforced no matter what the cost. China, a country with an extensive coast line, should work harder to protect its marine environment.
According to the theme of the international Year of the Ocean, 1998, oceans are he common inheritance of all people, it is therefore our responsibility to protect the oceans for future generations. So then why is there a large-scale discharge of waste containing nutrients with nitrogen and phosphorus contributing to the killing of 300 tons of fish (China environment Daily). The paper said that a total of 2. 9 billion tons of sewage were discharged into the waters at South China s Pearl River mouth in 1997, with a rate treatment of less than 10%.
This large amount of discharge of harmful land-sourced substances into the seas has posed a major threat to the marine environment. The current law, which merely restricts the concentration of pollutants, is not effective enough to guarantee a high quality of seawater. This is an effect of the legislation lacking articles concerning the quantity of the discharged wastes. The disastrous red tide which hit the coastal waters of China s Guangdong Province and Hong Kong between March and April of 1998, is a direct result of this lackingness.
In August of 1982, China adopted the Law on Marine Environment Protection, which went into effect March of 83. Regulations such as: Regulations Concerning the Prevention Damage to the Marine Environment by Coastal Construction Projects (1990), Regulations Concerning the Prevention of Pollution Damage to the Marine Environment by Land-based Pollutants (1990) and Regulations Concerning the Dumping of Wastes at Sea (1985) were all enacted and all have prevented serious damage to seawater during the past 15 years.
But who is to say what is considered serious, these pollutants could have killed off species of marine life yet to be discovered by man. What if some now extinct type of marine plant held the cure to AIDS or cancer, mankind will never know because we are too busy dumping our wastes into hese environments disrupting the ecosystems. But land-based pollutants are not the only destructers of man that disturb the ecological balance of the sea. Uncontrolled, profit driven sand and gravel dredging and excavation have damaged mangroves and coral reefs, causing equally harmful effects to the marine ecology as does pollution from waste water.
The fish breeding sites in tidal areas and major migration routes are sometimes destroyed by the irrational construction of dams and the uncontrolled reclaiming of land from the sea for building development zones. Much of the waters bordering China are also in contact with Japan, and Japan has a large fishing economy which is now going to be affected by the vast amounts of fishes either dying off of moving to cleaner waters. An institutional reform is to be under way, but government function have not been clearly defined and the overlapping of different institutions responsibilities still prevents the effective implementation of the law.
According to Liu Nanlai, a senior research fellow of the Law Institute from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, to prevent troubles from arising uring the operation of the law, a single governmental institution to support the unified management of State marine protection affairs is desperately needed. But while everyone is running around trying to get all the legal affairs settled, manufacturers and businesses are still dumping excessive wastes into our oceans.
And I say our oceans because the waters China is dumping in is connected to the waters that border every other coastline country and eventually currents will carry all the wastes around the entire globe. (Zheng Ying) Somewhat more local is the damage being done to the Gulf of Mexico fishing industry. Detected off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas, the largest ever gulf dead zone which is said to be so wide, it would stretch from Chicago to Des Moines, said Nancy Rabalais of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, which measured the zone in July of 1999.
More than half the nitrogen blamed for the problem comes from crop fertilizers, which cause low oxygen levels in an area of water and then becomes vacant of shrimp and other sea life from spring to early fall. Farms cover vast chunks of the Mississippi River basin, which spreads across 41% of the United States. The farmers in that area are losing $400 million a year by letting fertilizer wash down the Mississippi River into the gulf, where it goes to waste and threatens the livelihoods of shrimpers and other fishers, said John Downing, an Iowa State University aquatic ecologist studying the issue.
Keeping the fertilizer on the cropland would not only save the farmers money, but it would protect shrimping interests in the gulf and help fight nitrate pollution in Iowa. So why aren t farmers cutting their fertilizer use? Because there is no scientifically identifiable link between the farmers use of fertilizer and the low-oxygen zones in he gulf. Farmers want the government to avoid disrupting the nation s huge agricultural economy, and by turning 24 million acres of cropland into wetlands to help keep the nitrogen out of rivers would be highly unprofitable.
But the cost of using the fertilizers and to have them washed into the gulf, could cause damage that future generations will have to suffer from. If laws aren t made stricter for farmers and the efficient use of fertilizers be enforced, other wise the entire nation could suffer. (Beeman Perry) Our oceans are going to be the one of the things left to future generations that will be eeded in life. Processes of desalination can provide drinking water for those who do not have a resuviour or a natural source still in existence.
Do you really want your great grand children drink intoxicated water which may have mutantigenic effects or even cause cancer, all because our generation couldn t properly dispose of wastes because at the time it was more cost efficient to dump them into the ocean. In the long run it is only going to hurt our economy. It is cheaper to spend a few extra bucks to discard wastes properly, than to load the oceans up with so much ollution that in the future no amount of money could replace the lost species of marine life and the economical devastation that will be caused to many fishing based lifestyles.
Already countries exist in Central America and along the tropics that because of the lack of proper facilities, the surrounding water is intoxicated and anyone that dares swim in it, is almost guaranteed to come out with some sort of virus or sickness, do we really want that in every country of the world? Ask yourself that next time you have a piece of trash in your hand, do you want to be part of the problem, or part of the solution.