Impacts on Oceans

The tremendous volume of wastewater produced and disposed of in the ocean is killing marine life, degrading critical habitats, harming the ecosystems on which people depend, and seriously threatening human health. Typical components of human waste include freshwater, nutrients, organic matter, bacteria, viruses, parasites, endocrine disruptors, suspended solids, sediments, and heavy metals — each of which have an array of negative impacts on marine ecosystems and likely work synergistically to weaken the chances of survival for many marine species (Wear & Vega Thurber, 2015). In the sub-sections, we illustrate how common components of wastewater can impact marine organisms and ocean habitats.