ocean water



Outline
1. Introduction to open water waste disposal.
2. Introduction of oil into marine environments.
1. Effects upon environment.
2. Effects upon living organisms.
3. Introduction of plastics/pollutants into marine environments.
1. Effects upon living organisms.
4. Possible solutions to waste disposal into our water systems.
1. Military applications.
2. Research and developments.
5. Conclusion

The oceans and the life they sustain have had enough. They can no longer endure the unwanted pollution of careless, inconsiderate people worldwide. The societies of this world need to wake up, and not only listen to, but understand that it is time to find better ways of dealing with wastes, rather than nonchalantly dumping it into our oceans. For decades people in societies worldwide have taken advantage of the Earth=s waters simply by dumping whatever they do not want into them. Apparently our time of easy disposal has run out, the oceans and the life within our showing distinct signs of poor health. The continuous dumping (or traditional dumping) of industrial wastes as well as sewage and garbage into the oceans is beginning to show definite signs of pollution caused stress. The National Research Council recently published information stating that human intervention has begun to take its toll on the marine environment. The ecological balance of oceans worldwide are at a dangerously unstable state, the effects of man-made pollutants introduced into the waters and seas are having severe consequences upon the marine life living there. There is much that needs to be accomplished before scientists can fully understand how bad our oceans and seas really are. Even more importantly, is the fact that environmental action must be taken now to reduce the oceans growing plight.

Arguably the most contributing polluters to our oceans are the major industries of the world. Industrial ocean pollution has incorporated a wide variety of polluters, ranging from major oil spills dispersing toxic chlorinated hydrocarbons (the resultant of the breakdown of petroleum) to PCB=s (polychlorinated biphenyls) as well as DDT=s (dichloro-diphenyl trichloroethane, which is banned in the U.S. but still largely used in third world countries) all of which are used widely in chemical pesticides and detergents (Gourlay 85). The introduction of oil into our oceans occurs in three major ways; by tanker accidents, faulty underwater pipelines, or oil-rig blowouts. The times atlas of oceans lists one-hundred eighty-six tanker accidents between the years 1970 - 1985. Each accident was given an estimated oil-spill of ten thousand barrels (1,130 tons) or more (Gourlay 86). Potentially more disastrous are the oil rig blowouts, since they are more difficult than the tanker accidents. For example, in January 1969 an underwater oil drill exploded in the Santa Barbara Channel off the California coast. For nearly two weeks crude oil was polluted into the channel at nearly twenty-one thousand gallons a day. To this day wildlife experts are calling this spill the worst to ever hit the California coast, affecting over thirty different beaches, killing thousands of birds, seals, and dolphins as well as affecting hundreds of different species of fish (Gourlay 98).

Oil breaks down into different compounds, depending on the molecular structure of the crude. It breaks down by the process of evaporation which leads to the process of dissolution, which in turn leads to emulsification and finally to biodegradation (Gerlach 73-74). Evaporation occurs after the first few hours after the oil has been introduced into the water. The best known way to evaporate the crude is to set it on fire, but this can only be done within a few hours after the oil spill due to having sufficient amount of pure flammable oil to ignite. After the evaporation process the dissolution process begins. The density of the oil will determine just how long the oil will stay at the surface of the water, or how long it will take for the oil slick to break apart and dilute itself. If the oil is relatively light then the period of dilution shall be relatively shorter. Whereas if the oil is heavier in mass, the outcome is a Ahighly persistent water-in-oil emulsion of semi-solid lumps known as chocolate mousse or more approriatly called tarballs (Gourlay 105)@. The latter is potentially more dangerous in a sense that the breakdown period, as well as the outcome of these tarballs is unknown (Gourlay 105). One known outcome is for the tarballs to sink to the