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Adam Scott
DeBock
28 September 2016
English 4
The Effects of Human Interaction on the Ocean
Humans negatively affect our oceans through pollution, this pollution has become a
serious issue, actions have been taken through plastic bag bans and foundations to change the
outlook and preserve the ocean. The ocean has suffered from many years of mistreatment
through pollution and contamination. Humans have been the cause of much of the pollution and
the loss of many coral reefs and sea creatures. The main focus of ocean pollution has to be
prevention and immediate response to the damages done. Although it may be too late for
complete recovery positive actions toward ocean cleanup change the ocean and coastlines.
Firstly, humans have negatively affected surrounding oceans with pollution. Ocean
pollution occurs in many forms, consisting of plastic debris and chemical pollution. Both have
massive effects on coral reefs and other marine life. Coral reefs are important to ocean life and
help surrounding species to thrive in their environment. Water pollutants have transformed nearly
10 percent of coral reefs to look nothing like they have ever looked before (Russell). The
problems are occurring at all depths, and the number of species affected is increasing," says Dr.
James Porter, a marine ecologist at the University of Georgia, who discovered a mysterious
epidemic labeled "white pox." The outbreak was observed February in 1997, in the waters off
Key West, Florida, along the only living coral reef in the continental U.S. In some areas, it
appears to have eliminated 80 percent of the marine animals (Russell). Untreated overflows and
sewer system mishaps have massive effects on the ocean species. In addition to the coral reefs,

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water pollution has expanded furthermore creating Red Tides (Russell). Toxic red dinoflagellates
create a discoloration of seawater, with a red tint. The blooms causing these tides can have a
devastating effect on marine animal life. Any animals that feed on the blooms are at
risk for death along with humans that eat any contaminated animal (Russell). Recently, the
oceans have seen a shocking increase in these tides. What occurred once in a blue moon has now
been occurring often, and in different areas. The harvesting of shellfish has nearly been shut
down in many states due to the severity of the tides. Human pollution through dumping and trash
has collaborated throughout the years to turn into a bigger issue than ever before. Ocean
pollution and coastline pollution has increased beyond control. Foundations set up to clean the
oceans do not have the manpower nor capability to clean the oceans and keep them clean.
On the opposition, efforts to improve the oceans condition have made the oceans cleaner.
There have been many attempts to better the ocean. Recently there has been an attempt to initiate
a plastic bag ban. The main issue with plastic bags are that they take much longer to decompose
than most other materials. Humans are recycling and reusing the bags less than ever, thus causing
more to end up in the oceans (Wilson). A debate has occurred on whether to use plastic or paper
bags. More attempts have been made to use paper bags, which are better for the environment.
The opposing side claims that the ease of use outweighs the negative effects on the ocean
(Wilson). Plastic bag bans would help the oceans, but would hurt the income of many companies
who can make the plastic bags cheaper than paper bags. Recently reusable bags have played a
key factor. People are starting to bring their own bags when grocery shopping. Reusing bags
reduces the number of plastic bags that will end up in the ocean. The need for the bans are
obvious, but political debate still occurs. It is important that people learn the conditions of our
ocean and coastlines. Once people understand these conditions the table will turn on plastic bag

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bans. Loy says that,As the 20th Century draws to a close, there is a growing awareness that such
thinking is naive, and that the oceans are not impervious to our assaults. There has, in fact, been
a marked and salutary change in the way interested people think about the oceans. Thankfully,
the actions of few have started a small movement on coastlines around the world. Many people
participate in the ocean clean-ups, and even more donate to the supporting non-profits. Many
non-profits such as the Surfrider foundation have been created to raise money to fund the
expenses of cleaning the ocean. Society must continue to work together to clean the ocean before
it is far too late to recuperate.
As a result, the outlook for the oceans and coastlines seems to have some hopeful signs.
Many nations have adopted a plan, and or a strategy to protect coral reefs. Alongside the
depletion of coral reefs, fisheries are helping to return the fish population to what it should be
(Russell). Whole bodies of water are becoming cleaner than they have ever been. Russell states
that, Since dumping of untreated sludge and grease into the harbor was stopped in 1991, water
clarity and oxygen levels have noticeably improved. New pumping stations have cut pollution
from sewer overflow pipes by 70 percent. Society has become more and more aware of the
actions that need to be taken to preserve the oceans and keep waterways as beautiful as they
should be. The United States has passed many laws to protect the ocean, one of which is the
Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972. The act, also known as the Clean Water Act bans
the release of contaminated water into bodies of water in or near U.S. territories (Heinrichs 69).
With recent oil spills, many countries including the United States have developed a plan to
counter pollutants released during the drilling. Countries are working together to form a way to
assure the protection of Earths oceans and coastlines. The human race must fight to preserve the

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most prominent natural resource, the ocean. Without preservation now, the ocean will never be
able to fully recover from pollution and mistreatment.
In conclusion, the effects on the ocean must be contained. It is important that the world
works together to preserve the resource that covers more of the planet that any other thing. The
ocean is important to our environment. Society has to find the balance between using the ocean
to gain resources and harming the ocean. The human race must bond together to protect each and
every mile of the ocean. Laws and plans are nothing if society will not follow them. It is
important that enforcement of the laws and plans be in effect to preserve the ocean. Pollution has
become a large issue in our current day and age but can be changed through hard work and
dedication to preserve the oceans that our world loves. The effects of not correcting the issues at
hand can and will be catastrophic. Many of the issues with ocean pollution have been caused and
or worsened by human actions, meaning society must work to clean the ocean. The ocean and
ocean species have no way to protect themselves from water pollution. Humans are indirectly
causing the deaths and eventual extinction to some of the worlds most amazing species. In
addition to the many animals that have been harmed, society has seemed to forget about the coral
reefs that may only get one chance to live. The decreasing in the quantity and quality of ocean
life shines the light directly to the need of an ocean cleanup. Our society needs to work together
to help the ocean make a comeback.

Works Cited
Grant, Richard. "Plastic Debris Is Polluting the World's Oceans." Pollution. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes.
Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Drowning in
Plastic." Telegraph 24 Apr. 2009. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.
Heinrichs, Ann. Maintaining Earths Oceans. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2012.

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Print.
Loy, Frank E. "Human Efforts Are Improving the Condition of the World's Oceans and Coastal
Regions." Endangered Oceans. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004
Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "lecture at the University of Virginia Center for Oceans
Law and Policy." 1999. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.
Russell, Dick. "Water Pollution Is a Serious Problem." Pollution. Ed. Tamara L. Roleff.
San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Where the Land
Meets the Sea." E/The Environmental Magazine (1998). Opposing Viewpoints in Context.
Web. 20 Sept. 2016.
Wilson, Stiv. "Plastic Bag Bans Protect the Environment." The Environment. Ed. Lynn M. Zott.
Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2014. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "In
Defense of Plastic Bag Bans." GreenBiz.com 28 Dec. 2011. Opposing Viewpoints in
Context. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.
Word Wildlife Fund. "Ocean Pollution Is a Global Threat." Pollution. Ed. Debra A.
Miller. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "Marine 0
Problems: Pollution." Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.