Every living organism changes the world around it, including the marine life. Sound has been a part of our environment. It is seldom that we experience a very quiet day. One of the characteristics of sound is intensity. Intensity refers to the loudness of sound. It is measured by a unit called decibel. The decibel unit is logarithmic, which means that 10 decibels is 10 times as powerful. Noise pollution can be damaging to animals too. Intense noise levels may possibly intrude with the natural cycles of animals which contain feeding behavior, migration paths and breeding rituals. The major effect of noise pollution to marine life is the methodical and efficient reduction of usable habitat in which the endangered species may become extinct. Maybe the most astounding and extraordinary damaged that has brought by noise pollution is the death of some whales which brought on by the tremendously loud—that will reach to 200 decibels— sound of military sonar. Moreover, noise pollution is normally called as “environmental noise” in technical venues (see “Noise Pollution”. Wikipedia. The free encyclopedia. November 30, 2006).
In addition, Eubalaena australis is a whale that was once plentiful in the coasts of New Zealand that whalers will attach in east coast bays. Recently, the sum total of the Eubalaena australis is diminishing and is now approximately 8,000 which are only 10 percent of their original number and they are hardly seen at the moment. Majority of the marine animals—specifically the marine mammals and fish— is bounded by sound for “feeding, predator avoidance, navigation, and family connection”. The sound is utilized as the major sense because the vision on marine life is merely good for tens of meters. The sound in the marine life has the corresponding significance in supporting life, “sunlight above the surface”. Antropogenic sound—or better known as noise pollution in the marine life— is the latest classified and recognized dilemma that needs to be addressed with the same intensity as pollution of the atmosphere. Ocean background noise levels have increased twofold in each decade for the last six eras in several areas. Since there is no light, life in the ocean is totally distinct compared to the life on land. The ocean’s natural resources need to be managed distinctively; specifically suppressive manufacturing industries like the mining, and oil and gas (see Jasney, Michael & Horowitz, Cara. “Deepsea Conservation: The costs of seismic exploration”).
The intents of this paper are to: (1) understand better what noise pollution is; (2) know the kinds of noise pollution taking place on marine life; (3) be aware the kinds of marine animals that are affected by noise pollution and; (4) recognized the place in which noise pollution usually occurs.
A. What is noise pollution?
The term “noise” is originated from the Latin word “nausea” which denotes to seasickness. Nowadays, noise is amongst the major inescapable and prevalent contaminant. Noises coming from “road traffic, jet skis, construction equipment, garbage trucks, leaf blowers, boom boxes, lawn mowers, and jet planes” are amongst the perceptible rubbish or trashes that are regularly transmit on the air. However, not only the animals and people on land experience noise pollution but also the marine life. Animals in ocean have also experienced noise pollution that makes them reduced in number just like the Eubalaena Australia whale. Moreover, noise has negative impacts in some manners (see “About Noise, Noise Pollution, and the Clearinghouse”).
Moreover, researchers determined that whales gather on shore because of the sounds produced through ultrasound scanners of battleships and submarines. The scientists are profoundly concerned with regards to the noise background that “commercial shipping causes in the depths of the ocean” (see Muirden, James; Williams, Briand and ET. Al. “The Visual Factfinder”). The experts state that noisiest areas of the global ocean are located in the North Atlantic water territory and also in the north of Pacific Ocean. The noise pollution is highly intense in the ocean all over Indonesia. The “man-caused noise in the ocean” is bit by bit destroyed the marine life world. The scientists state that: “Sea animals rely on sound, they do not see anything”. The noise level in the marine life has obtained approximately 15 decibels throughout the period. Surely, the merchant shipping companies will not spend much money just to restrict the level of noise pollution in the marine world (see “Man-caused noise pollution o the ocean kills sea animals”. April 29, 2005).
A. The kinds of noise pollution taking place on marine life and the kinds of marine animals that are affected by noise pollution.
The oil and gas industry usually depends on “air guns, long submersible cannons” that are pulled behind boats in complicated arrays, firing shots of compacted air in the water approximately every ten seconds. The extreme pulses that they give transmit down through the water column, pass through the seafloor and bounce back into “the surface where they can be analyzed”. A huge seismic array can give off peak tensions of sound that are greater than those of any different man-made source aside from the explosives that have more than 250 decibels. When the seafloor is solid and rocky, the noise may possibly be heard for thousands of miles. This “form of ocean noise” can have a scale of critical effects on marine species which from “hemorrhaging of tissues and strandlings”, into momentary or permanent hearing loss. High-intensity sounds are recognizing to pose a distinct risk to marine mammals because of the significant function that “acoustics play in marine ecology”. During 2002, in the Gulf of California, Mexico, there were two beaked whales—the genus name is Ziphius cavirostris—were stranded. At the same year, adult humpback whales were also reported to have stranded. Other marine mammal species are identified to be affected by airgun arrays that contain sperm whales. Even though majority of the research has been dedicated to marine mammals, seismic investigation is a dilemma whose impacts cause a “wide range of species” which contains sea turtles (see Jasney, Michael & Horowitz, Cara. “Deepsea Conservation: The costs of seismic exploration”).
C. The place in which noise pollution usually occurs
The Mediterranean Sea marine life is endangered by habitat collapsed because of the human activities like “ship traffic, pollution, coast anthropization and fisheries”. The marine life environment has its own acoustic irregularities and cetaceans are unusually well adjusted to them. With these mammals, acoustic communication had obtained a dispensational function compared with different communication channels. Marine mammals dwell in a medium that inadequately sends out light but by which sound spreads or circulates properly though over long distances. Marine mammals deeply and profoundly depend on sound in order to communicate, scrutinize the surrounding and exploit, to look for prey and to shun obstacles. The great impacts of anthropogenic noise on the marine world are a novel critical concern for scientists and experts. Noise can persuade and affect “the psychic and physical well-being of man, and laws set limits on potentially damaging acoustic emissions” (see “Noise Pollution”. New Standard Encyclopedia. Standard Educational corporation. Vol. 13). Seawater noise and vibrations made by man may possibly derive from “ship traffic, seismic surveys, sonars, oceanographical experiments, seabed drilling, touristic boats, underwater explosions, vibrations propagating from coast and many others” (see Pavan, Giovanni. “Effects of underwater noise on marine mammals”. Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali. September 2006).
Too much exposure to sound can give off a range of great impacts on marine mammals. A moderate or depleted level sound can be perceptible to mammals without having a result in any noticeable and observable effect. When the sound is increased its level, the sound produce may possibly disturb the animals and stimulate evasion and different behavioral alterations. When an animal cannot shun the noise source, the animals may possibly be exposed to acoustic status that is able to produce and give off negative impacts that may scale from uneasiness and tension to “physical acoustic trauma”. Too much exposure to extremely loud sounds can give off mutilation to several organs aside from the hearing (see Pavan, Giovanni. “Effects of underwater noise on marine mammals”. Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali. September 2006).
Furthermore, the primary effect of the acoustic trauma is the lessening of the hearing ability or even deteriorating of sensitivity level. The hearing loss is categorized as “temporary or permanent threshold shifts”. In addition, acute pollution appears to be more controllable. Several researches have explained “behavioral responses to man-made sounds”. The said researches present how effects extensively and broadly rely on “the nature of the sound, on the sensitivity of animals, and on local sound propagation conditions” that differ in accordance to species, social context, behavior and other related reasons. During the last decades, seawater acoustic technology has turn to be accessible for civil institutions (see Pavan, Giovanni. “Effects of underwater noise on marine mammals”. Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali. September 2006).
There are many ways how human beings pollute the environment specifically the marine life. When we say pollute, it is to make or render unclean, to defile, to desecrate, and to contaminate. When substances that cause a change in the appearance and quality of the water are present in large quantity, we consider the water as polluted. Moreover, anything that makes the environment undesirable and unclean is referred to as a pollutant of the environment. Pollution is defined as the abuse and misuse of the environment.
Furthermore, every individual is held responsible to our marine life. Just like us, marine animals have also experienced noise pollution that normally caused by man. As people, we should take care our marine life because if we continually neglect our responsibilities to the marine world, there will be a time that our endangered animals in the ocean will be totally extinct because noise pollution also affect their growth as a group of species.
“Noise Pollution”. Wikipedia. The free encyclopedia. November 30, 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_pollution
Jasney, Michael & Horowitz, Cara. “Deepsea Conservation: The costs of seismic exploration”. http://www.terranature.org/oceanNoise.htm
“About Noise, Noise Pollution, and the Clearinghouse”. http://www.nonoise.org/aboutno.htm
“Man-caused noise pollution o the ocean kills sea animals”. April 29, 2005. http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/15380_sound.html
Pavan, Giovanni. “Effects of underwater noise on marine mammals”. Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali. September 2006. http://www.unipv.it/webcib/edu_noise_uk.html
6. Muirden, James; Williams, Briand and ET. Al. “The Visual Factfinder”.
ISBN 1 85697 074 4
7. “Noise Pollution”. New Standard Encyclopedia. Standard Educational corporation. Vol. 13.