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The Sleepless Sentinel

Hydrosphere is on threat!
Ballast water contributes extensive damage
to marine eco-system!

NINB, Kolkata: World’s advancement in marine transportation contributesenormousoceanic pollution and loss of biodiversity to a great extent!The oceans are under threat which may pose a serious ecological, economic and health hazards.We are not much concerned with thiseffect as the world looks on the economic success.

Every transport is causing pollution to environment, i.e. air, land and marine, amongwhich the marine sector is being overlooked and adversely affected the under water ecosystem. Ships carry over 90% of all trade either by large ship, tanker, cruise, and cargo carrier. The oceanic pollution caused by various ways like oil spill, untreated sewage, eutrophication(nutrient enrichment), invasive species, persist ant organic molecules,heavy metals from mine tailings, acidification, radioactive substances, over fishing, marine litters and finally disposal of huge amount of water ballast from large water vessels at harbors. Overall good progresses has been made on reducing persistent organic molecules, oil discharges and oil spills which reduced to 63% compared to mid 1980’s; tanker accidents have gone down by 75% but no remedial measures against the harmful ballast water.Apart from this the most unavoidable factors which threaten the entire marine and coastal biodiversity are the bottom paint and huge disposal of ballast water. This ballast water includes bacteria, small invertebrates, and the eggs cyst, larvae of various species.Long observation depicts that the biggest species diversity has been hampered by ballast water pollution.It also represents a serious change or alteration in food-web by foreign contamination.

The discharged ballast water by ships caused severe harmful effects on the marine eco-system.It is estimated that 3000-4000 million tons of untreated contaminated ballast water are discharged from ships which severely affects more than 10,000 marine species. Loading and discharging of ballast water is an essential fundamental operation for stability maintenance of large ship, tanker, and cruise ship and cargo carrier. This disposal of water take place within ports and harbors and termed as waste product which contains enormousbiological populations including disease causing viruses andbacteria. These materials often include non-native plants and animals, invasive alien species, exotic species which causes extensive ecological and economic damage to the marine biodiversity along with serious health issues even to the human society.

The effects of introducing newly non-native species are undetectable and displaced the native floral and faunal communities by producing a foul smell which causes a severe extinction of anchovy and sprat fishery.Despite efforts from scientist over 40,000 seabirds, about 1,000 sea otters and immense numbers of fish and other marine species were killed. For example-bloom forming algae Gymnodimium, causes a paralytic shellfish poisoning; Hydroedisezoensis is a severe fouling organism in Southampton water by producing severe fouling smell. In several countries, introduced, microscopic and “red tide” algae have been absorbed by filter feeding shellfish such as oyster which when eaten by humans cause paralysis and even hundred deaths across the globe. It is even feared that cholera may be transported in ballast water which hampered the marine biome adversely.

Recognizing the possible severity of the consequences an international action plan should be taken-up by improving guidelines for proper treatment of contaminated water. On this prospect an international law should be amended to get awakened from the loss of future marine biodiversity. This is definite that the advancement is the key of success but the experts’ remark that “is it really the proper way of advancement by ignoring the loss of Nature?” As a result, whole ecosystem might be changed and economic impact to a considerable value. Nature Indian alerts the rulers on this crucial issue whichmay not restrict within the ocean but an obvious affect should come-down to the terrestrial ecosystem too. It should be pondered and act right now before it is too late!