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Noise Pollution in Our Oceans

Noise pollution is a serious problem in our oceans! What is causing it?
NOAA Fisheries

The environment has been a hot topic for quite some time. Everything humans do seems to be damaging the environment. Anything seems bad, from turning the light on to throwing your plastic cup in the wrong bin.

One thing that flies under the radar is noise pollution. How can sounds be damaging? It sounds pretty bizarre, but unfortunately for marine life, this is an ongoing problem. 

Boats have been used for thousands of years and are one of the best ways of transportation! Whether it be people taking a nice leisurely cruise or the socks you bought off of Amazon, boats are used daily for multiple purposes. Cargo ships emit around 190 decimals of noise; in other terms this is louder than a jet engine during take-off. Noise travels four times faster in water than in air.

Imagine what that is doing to animal communication.

Whales and dolphins use sound waves within the water to communicate with each other; if there are constant noises as loud as jet engines how can they hear?

They can’t. This has led to changes in individual and social behaviors, as well as altering their metabolisms. The bottlenose dolphin has simplified its vocal call. The higher frequencies have been altered due to the loud noises in the waters.

Boats are not the only problem regarding the strange noises happening in deep waters. 

Abandoned windmill blades

Windmills not only cause problems with communication, but they affect marine life’s migration patterns. Migrating whales will opt out of their traditional routes and go the long way to avoid the offshore wind facilities. The construction will steer animals away but the mills themselves are hurting the patterns and communication between the sea creatures.

How can sounds be damaging?

Deep sea mining causes lots of disturbances for marine life.  Noise pollution during mining is horrific, but there is a long list of other things that are happening: “direct damage to benthic fauna, habitat destruction, pollution from sediment plumes and wastewater discharge, and noise and light pollution across the water column”(Queen Snapper).

The damage that mining the sea floor causes doesn’t seem worth it, as different species of fish are forced to change their patterns, and this results in a fish having to modify their behaviors. 

Noise pollution shouldn’t go beyond land. Marine life is being disturbed just so some things on land can be cheaper.

In conclusion, noise pollution is caused by much more than just the ones listed. This is an ongoing issue that has little public awareness, and needs to be dealt with one way or another.




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About the Contributor
Abrielle Choma
Abrielle Choma, Staff Reporter
I am a senior at Sutton High School. My favorite color is green and I am on the Sutton High Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field teams. I love to ski and spend time with my friends and family.

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