Marine Destruction

According to WWF Global, over eighty percent of marine pollution comes from land sources. Most of which comes from human interferance such as garbage, oil, and toxic waste. Oil spills are damaging to the marine environment, but yet only make up less than twenty percent of petroleum that enters the ocean. In fact, almost forty percent of polluting oil comes from industrial runoff from cities that is carried by rainwater and rivers. In coastal regions, excess fertilizer from gardens and farms not only drains into the soil, but it gets carried into the ocean in the same way oil is. This provides an excess in nutrients to the water, which encourages the overgrowth of algal blooms and the process of eutrophication. This deprives the marine biome of its oxygen which in turn, smothers the creatures that live there. Several marine waters throughout the world are inundated with this phenomena which has created miles of uninhabitable ocean waters.

Offshore Dumping In addition to harmful petroleum and fertilizers, garbage and raw sewage are being disposed of into the ocean every day. Internal examinations of whales, sharks, dolphins and other aquatic life, have shown foreign items such as beer cans and plastic garbage bags have been accidentally ingested. Many coastal cities around the world empty their sewage into the ocean with little or no treatment at all. Human sewage not only contains fecal matter and urates, but also carries harmful bacteria that aren't naturally occurring in the marine ecoystems of the world. Human waste also contains trace amounts of medications and other controlled substances, which add up when combined with large amounts of the toxin-containing wastes. All of this is emptied into the ocean in staggering amounts and is destroying the marine environment. Although many of the world's governments have implemented regulations on offshore dumping, there is still a collective threat to the oceanic envrionment, the cruise ship industry.

Cruise lines are an integral part of the international tourism industry, and many cruise ships can accommodate several hundred passengers. These passengers eat, sleep and live on the cruise ships for the durations of their trips, so where does all of the waste go? Tourism at Earth's Expense Cruise ships produce sewage, greywater, oily bilge, air pollutants and other hazardous wastes into the marine atmosphere. Though pollution released by freight ships is equally dangerous, the amount of people ordinarily found on cruise ships introduces this toxic combination of pathogens and wastes at higher, more concentrated amounts. Overpopulated sea-ports that connect cruise ships to other ports also experience a higher amount of marine pollution. Regulations pertaining to offshore dumping only require that cruise lines are a minimum of three miles from land before dumping their wastes into the ocean, and an estimated 175,000 gallons of sewage and other wastes are dumped daily. These same regulations allow the disposal of solid garbage materials twelve miles from land. The Oceana website discusses this issue in deeper detail as well as other threats to the aquatic biome, and even has petitions to be signed for tightening dumping regulations in the ocean.

Instead of opting for a cruise for your next vacation, take a look at some of the options available to you in ecotourism. Ecotourism is an environmentally friendly way of vacationing while seeing some of the more treasured parts of our planet.

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Ecotourism is a great way to support local communities in underdeveloped areas, broaden your cultural horizons and lessen the impact leisure travel has on the planet. Research eco-tour companies and accommodations carefully to ensure their business practices are legitimately eco-friendly before booking.

There are several benefits of ecotourism. In recent years, ecotourism has exploded in popularity. Ecotourism takes tourists away from civilization and exposes them to exotic wildlife, new cultures and entrancing landscapes. 

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Today, Costa Rica ecotourism continues to stir controversy. While ecotourism in Costa Rica has reaped economic benefits, environmentalists are concerned that the desire for profits is outdistancing the need for conservation.

Eco travel takes people to remote areas to explore worlds largely untouched by mankind and learn about isolated cultures. It requires responsible travel and a willingness to abide by ecotourism rules.

Many argue that ecotourism does not offer enough environmental protection. In fact, some believe that ecotourism threats will actually damage the very environments that ecotourism strives to preserve.

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