By Cristián Frers
Large amounts of waste and pollutants are dumped into the oceans each year. Many of these substances did not even exist fifty years ago. Pollution, particularly of coastal waters, is caused byboth to land and marine activities.
The situation of the seas has only gotten worse in recent times. The increase in population, the lack of strict, clear and severe national and global legislation that persecutes and punishes the offending companies, the increasing number of industrialized countries, the pollution of rivers, the dumping of ships, the waters fecal, the millions and millions of tons of plastics that are negligently thrown into its waters and that end the lives of countless animals or the use and abuse of pesticides, DDT, dioxins and heavy metals are all causes of first order that explain the gradual deterioration of their conditions. One of the clearest examples of the consequences that uncontrolled discharges cause on marine ecosystems was discovered by chance by the American oceanographer Charles Moore, who located a large patch of garbage that extended as far as the eye could see. After studying it, he realized that its dimensions were colossal. It is currently estimated thatit is twice the size of a country like Spain and worst of all, it continues to grow at a rapid rate.
The "plastic soup", as Moore baptized it, is made up of some six million tons of waste, not only scattered on the surface of the ocean but, in some cases, up to thirty meters deep.
In Argentina, if we take as an example the city of Mar del Plata -Province of Buenos Aires- almost 600,000 people from Mar del Plata dump their waste into the sewer, to which tons of fat are added (from fishmeal plants in restaurants and from other food places). But as if this were not enough, between two and three million tourists are received in the summer. And this is not a minor problem: the flow that the city discharges into the sea is 2.8 m3 sec-1. during most of the year, reaching 3.5 m in summer3.sec.-1.
The oceans are the habitat of many marine animals and a large amount of aquatic life. Many living things struggle to survive. Millions of marine animals were affected by the pollution and if we don't help them, this problem could be exacerbated.
Are we in time to reverse the current situation? Of course, but it will not be an easy or fast path. As the population continues to increase, there is nothing left but to bet on ecological policies, practices and attitudes.
If we don't, it will be the planet itself that ultimately, unable to provide us with the food we need to survive the billions of people who inhabit it, will put us in their place.