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"Life Below Water": Challenges and Opportunities

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Laws and regulations are a necessity in the effort to defend and achieve the global goal, Life Below Water. These rules may range from the legal actions taken during the process of barring chemicals and debris deposited, to the legal limit of fishing on specific species. When the waters are mistreated globally, this makes the sustainment of the ecosystem and life extremely difficult for all species. Industrial and agricultural works are continuously leaching their harmful wastes into the oceans and lakes that are primary sources of water pollution and poisoning of aquatic life. The global waters are not only necessary because of the diverse life below the shoreline, but humans would also be at a high disadvantage without the bodies of water. The high abundance of water, mainly the oceans, is essential to the atmosphere as it controls and regulates weather. Not only does water affect the climate, but humans much depend on the lakes and oceans to provide more than three billion people who rely on seafood for protein.

There are between 700,000 to one million species that reside beneath the waterline, leaving the oceans waters a location of the most biodiversity in the world. If the conditions and harmful acts continue, there will eventually be no life within the waters. Assuming that the presence of life diminishes, the studies and interests of life below shoreline will drastically drop causing hundreds and thousands of jobs to be lost. Because humans are the number one factor in harm done to the Earth’s waters, humans are the only ones that can solve the problem. Agencies and administrations have come together to form a list of laws and regulations that pertain to the process of protecting and restoring the life below water. However, it seems that the current rules are not up to par with the increasing rate of damage occurring every day all over the world. To contribute to the global goals and preserve the life below water, humans must begin to propose and comply with laws and regulations.

Today, there are a considerable amount of laws and regulations already in place that is contributing to the efforts of protecting the life beneath the shoreline. Around the world, the laws and regulations come from international organizations that propose different standards and instructions applying to the activities within the waters. Guidelines may range from the interdiction of dumping waste to the preservation of oceans by declaring sanctuaries. A great example of the ongoing laws and acts is the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA).

The NMSA is responsible for the authorization of the Secretary of Commerce to designate and protect areas of the marine environment with particular national significance due to their conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, scientific, cultural, archeological, educational or esthetic qualities as national marine sanctuaries. Within the sanctuaries, the NMSA has provided the program with authority to issue regulations for each refuge and the system as a whole. These rules can specify the types of activities that can and cannot occur within the sanctuary. Another strong example of a current act is the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), also known as the Ocean Dumping Act. This bill serves as legal action taken to end the transportation of material from the United States for ocean dumping; prohibit the transportation of material from anywhere for the use of ocean dumping by U.S. agencies or U.S.-flagged vessels, and to prevent the dumping of waste transported from outside the United States into the U.S. territorial sea. When the waters are polluted by the spill of poisonous chemicals and trash, harm is done to the marine life and also puts humans at risk for waterborne diseases that include Cholera, Guinea worm disease, Typhoid, Dysentery, and other serious illnesses. Despite the current laws and regulations, the quality of the water and life are still diminishing; more organizations must come up with further acts, regulations, and harsher discipline on those who violate the legislation.

Although there are already several laws and regulations in place that benefit the global goal, “Life Below Water,” there is still a great desideratum for more to be put into place. For centuries people have regarded the oceans, rivers, lakes, and coasts as an infinite supply of food, a convenient transport route, and an appropriate ground for dumping. These actions continue despite the fact that these ecosystems are much more fragile and complex than people once thought. At the rate that conditions are progressively getting worse and worse, the largest living area on earth is rapidly deteriorating. Continuous damage to the oceans without the protections from laws and regulations will eventually cause what is known today as global warming or climate change.

The results of global warming explain the abnormal shifts in ocean behavior that eventually cause dead zones and the absorption of too much carbon dioxide (CO2) into the bodies of waters (acidification). Dead zones are portions of the oceans that no longer support any life due to the lack of oxygen and acidification. At least one-quarter of the CO2 released by burning coal, oil and gas do not stay in the air, but it rather dissolves into the ocean where the water levels become more acidic as the pH level (a measurement expressing the acidity or alkalinity levels in a substance) drops. Significant changes in the pH levels do not give the occupying marine life, which has slowly evolved over millions of years in that environment with a consistent pH level, very much time to accommodate to the acidic conditions in the waters.

Some organisms will just barely survive or may even thrive under the more acidic conditions in the waters while others may go extinct. The loss of biodiversity to acidification will not only affect the life beneath the waterline but will also affect fisheries and aquaculture, threaten the protein supply for millions of people, as well as tourism and other sea-related/lake-related economies. It is now a human’s task to do something about implicating laws and regulations that will protect the life beneath the waterline by prohibiting certain forms of contributing factors to global warming.

Examples of the contributing factors to global warming are: burning fossil fuels, cement manufacture, and deforestation that has disrupted the balance of oxygen (O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) within the oceans. To effectively and efficiently make strides towards the advancement of law and regulation protections for the Global Goal, “Life Below Water,” more people must become aware of the catastrophe occurring within the bodies of water all around the world.

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“Life Below Water”: challenges and opportunities. (2018, December 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 27, 2021, from
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