water pollution near Richmond, VA

The causes of ocean pollution

There is not one but multiple pollutions of the oceans, which give rise to serious concerns on health, environmental and economic levels. Among them:

  • Plastic waste
  • Bottles, caps, straws, plastic bags or cigarette butts

Industrial production in Virginia has grown considerably over the last fifty years. Due to mass consumption, today we produce more than 32 million tons of plastic every year and which will end up in one way or another in the oceans through wind, rain and water and rivers.

According to Richmond Dumpster Rental Center, waste management specialists in Virginia, ocean pollution comes generally from single-use products, of which only 9% will be recycled. However, if there is no waste in nature because everything decomposes according to natural processes, plastic has an extremely long lifespan. Without ever disappearing completely, time and the sun rather gradually fragment it into micro-particles almost invisible to the naked eye, which will wash up on our beaches or settle on the seabed after traveling very long distances.

Debris was found off the coast of the deserted Antarctic Peninsula, and in the Mariana Trench, recognized as the deepest place in the earth’s crust. Ultimately, it is estimated today that plastic waste visible on the surface represents only 1% of plastic abandoned at sea.

The packaging and single-use products also include microbeads that we previously found in our beauty products, our shower gels or our toothpastes. Since January 2018, thanks to the biodiversity law, they have disappeared from the production of Virginia companies, but are still present in large quantities in the world’s oceans.

If production and consumption patterns do not change, it is now estimated that the oceans will contain as many tons of plastic as fish by 2050.


Ocean pollution is also our wastewater, 80% of which is rejected without prior treatment. Domestic water, saturated with detergents, phosphates and heavy metals, as well as other pollutants and discharges linked to livestock industries, affect the health of marine fauna and flora, and contribute to the creation of dead zones in the world’s oceans.

There is also mercury pollution which extends to practically all aquatic environments. This has intensified over the last century, and we find it mainly in the surface waters where the fish we catch live. Once ingested, mercury attacks the brain and our hormonal system. No treatment currently exists to dislodge it.


The oceans are paying a heavy price for our dependence on oil. Oil pollution is due to strandings, collisions between ships, accidents occurring in offshore fields or during oil transport.

Despite some improvements, it is estimated that 6 million tons of petroleum products are still dumped into the sea each year, not to mention hydrocarbons, of which approximately 350,000 additional tonnes also reach the seas year after year.


Pesticides are chemicals used to control weeds, insects, fungi and all kinds of small pests. Emitted by industries and agricultural operations, they penetrate the soil and the atmosphere then are transported by winds and rivers to the world’s oceans.

Because they do not dissolve and contain high concentrations of harmful substances such as DDT, phthalates and bisphenol-A, they change the pH of the water and accumulate in the tissues of marine animals. This allows them to move up the different links in the food chain.

Ocean mining

Deep-sea mining causes pollution and disruption at the lowest levels of the ocean. Through drilling, substances such as cobalt, zinc, silver, gold and copper are released, creating harmful deposits capable of affecting the life of the marine ecosystem.

Land runoff

Land runoff is when excess water, caused by heavy rain or flooding for example, can no longer infiltrate the ground and ends up reaching the sea via rivers and streams. In its path, it will pick up fertilizer and pesticide residues, animal waste, microfibers from our synthetic clothing and rubber debris from our car tires, contributing a little more to water pollution.

The ghost nets

Abandoned fishing nets represent around 640,000 tons of waste. This is what is more commonly called ghost fishing, and it contributes to both increasing the volume of microplastics floating in waters and trapping thousands of marine species each year.


We talk little about it and yet the oceans contain a considerable quantity of radioactive waste. Hard to believe today, but from 1975 to 1982, the London Convention authorized the dumping of nuclear waste into the sea. During this period, England alone had time to dump about 75,000 nuclear tons of waste into the sea, with radioactive drums protected by bitumen and cement. The problem is that the barrels erode under the attack of sea water.

The consequences of ocean pollution

Ocean pollution directly threatens hundreds marine species and the lists keeps on growing. The consequences of this pollution include:

The collapse of biodiversity

Of course marine animals are the main victims of ocean pollution, and this threatens the entire food chain.

Turtles choke on plastic bags they mistake for jellyfish. Dolphins, seals and sharks get trapped in debris left at the bottom of the water. 90% of seabirds today have plastic fragments in their stomachs and the figure could reach 99% by 2050 if waste management continues in this way.

If people could reduce their waste creation and hire a dumpster rental service if necessary, all the waste could be better treated, without littery and not end up in the oceans. This is a matter of public awareness.

Similar Posts