Ten Ocean and Water Pollution Facts You Might Not Know

December 26, 2013 2 min read

Ocean pollution facts

According to NOAA, the world's oceans cover 71% of the planet and contain 97% of the Earth's water.  Despite their great depths and vast expanses, the constant dumping of waste has taken a toll on our planet's oceans.  Here are a couple facts about pollution in our oceans, rivers, lakes and drinking water, and the numbers may surprise you.

Ocean and Water Pollution: Facts & Figures

1.  Ocean pollution factsOver 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by ocean pollution annually. (Source)

2.  The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that there are approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic in each square mile of ocean. (Source)

3.  About 46% of the lakes in the United States are too polluted for aquatic life, fishing or swimming. (Source)

4.  As a result of water pollution, global warming and habitat loss, marine life is at a high risk of "major exctinctions". (Source)

5.  The groundwater in Bangladesh is contaminated with arsenic, an extremely toxic poison and carcinogen.  Around 85% of the country's total area contains the contaminated groundwater.  (Source)

6.  Around 1.5 million metric tons of  pollution composed of mostly nitrogen and phosphorus flows down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico every year.  This pollution collects in the gulf and forms a "dead zone", an area devoid of oxygen and nutrients, about the size of New Jersey. (Source)

7.  Ocean Pollution factsPlastic waste collects and amasses in large "gyres" as a result of ocean currents, and there are currently 5 gyres throughout the Earth's oceans. (Source)

8.  About 14 billion pounds of garbage, composed of mostly plastic products, is dumped into the ocean every year. (Source)

9.  40% of China's surface water is considered polluted. (Source)

10.  15 million children under the age of 5 die every year by contracting diseases from polluted drinking water. (Source)

Sarah Webb
Sarah Webb

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