Human Footprints, Interference Affect Marine Life

Human Footprints, Interference Affect Marine Life

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Human impact on marine ecosystems

If you think that human has done changes to land area only, and their modification to ocean area of the planet is not that rampant, you are wrong. Human modification in ocean is as widespread as their urbanization on land, says a recent study. The research has been able to map the global extent of human interference in oceans of the earth. Even waves could not remove human footprints in the sea.

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Marine ecosystems impacted as land by human

A team of international researchers calculated the human footprints in ocean by human-built structures. The structures include tunnels, bridges, wind farms, aquaculture, breakwaters and commercial ports, as of 2018. Most marine constructions happened to be in exclusive economic zones (EEZs). The numbers are alarming, said the researchers.

A roughly 30,000 square kilometres or 0.008% of ocean area humankind has used for construction, says the study. However, the human interference in the ocean is much more extensive than these numbers. The impacts of these actions in marine go long way from changing water flow to spreading pollution to a number of other effects.

As urbanization makes up 1.7% of land, marine structures cover up nearly 1.5% of EEZs, found out the study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability. An 86% of EEZs data is missing, and 99% of marine structures are built in these zones. There is information deficiency on ocean development, owing to poor regulations in several regions of the world, the researchers said.

Human impact on marine ecosystems: Alarming

The situation may be more disastrous in coming future. Marine development for power and aquaculture is likely to rise by 50%-70% by 2028. What’s more worrying is that the marine developments mostly take place in coastal areas. Here lies the largest biodiversity and biologically productive sea environs, said the researchers.

Commercial ports alone contribute for as much as 99% of seascape modification. They receive extensive physical footprints, make widespread noise pollution to nearly 20 kilometres per port, the study revealed. Further, the capacity of commercial ports is likely to double up by 2030, the researchers estimated.

Despite the increasing need of resources and services for rapidly growing global population, the researchers warn, if marine conservation and present construction plans continue to be ignored by the governments and global agencies, the expensive coastal ecosystems and biodiversity held by the oceans will be lost.

Light pollution reaches sea bottom

Over a third of population of the world is not able to see the Milky Way due to light pollution. This pollution has also gone deepest into the sea floors to affect habitation there, says another study. The artificial lights from the coastal cities have become a problem for three quarters of the habitats residing on the bottom of the sea, finds out a study of the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom.

It has been frequently realized across the world, especially near mega sea-cities, that how brutally the light pollution of ‘artificial skyglow’ is destroying the neighboring sea habitation. However, it’s the first time that a study has extensively measured the impact of excessive artificial lighting on the creatures living on the seafloors.

During their four-night study of the waters of Plymouth Sound and the Tamar estuary, the researchers found out, the green and blue lights of coastal street LEDs in the city have reached the bottom of the sea. Furthermore, this light pollution is disrupting moonlight that regulates the marine life’s natural biological cycles. That includes reproduction, sleep, food and protection from predators.

Conclusion

Of course, in one way or other, humanity is devastating marine life for their own material conveniences and economic benefits. It’s time that we realize this mistreatment to the nature. And give our contribution to make the world a better place for all creatures. There is a need for collective voice of humanity to stop cruelty against these creatures. Governments and global bodies must take action, accordingly.

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