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How Can We Save Polar Bears?

Of all problems the world faces today, disruption of the natural environment that we call pollution is undoubtedly the most alarming and devastating. All our natural assets and resources without which we can hardly imagine life to survive on our planet face the danger of global warming. The rate at which we are polluting our world is increasing incredibly every day. At this rate, scientists believe that it is not too long before we bring our own end.

Although we can not abruptly stop pollution or bring ends to industrialization and technological advancements, we certainly can somehow try to develop alternatives that would cause lesser pollution. Scientists have defined pollution differently as belonging to different forms. Along with the air, our waters are the most common victims of pollution today. Of all endangered species such as the lion, the tiger or the leopard, the polar bear is the most brutally threatened species. Nature has its own methods of survival and too much of human interference disturbs its mechanism.

The over exploitation and improper use of the natural environment is one of the major problems the world faces today. If global warming continues to incur at this rate, the day is not too far when most life forms shall be on the verge of extinction. If land is a pre requisite to man’s existence, water is the most crucial element for his survival. Water bodies such as ponds, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans are being polluted at an increasingly rapid rate . The condition of sea waters and oceans is extremely fragile and concerns most environmentalists today.

Global warming may occur due to unfavorable alterations. The primary causes for global warming are land-based activities that result in a rise in the average surface temperature of the earth. Synthetic noxious compounds for example polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and chlordanes are there in large amounts in the Arctic. Over the years, the cruise ship industry has developed enormously and continues to do so and in turn tries to threaten and endanger the life of polar bears. Its dynamic growth registers an eight percent annual growth.

Cruise ships are not required to have permits to dump sewage into the oceans and hence don’t comply with international regulation standards. Dismissive of environmental regulations, they are not even required to monitor or report the magnitude of release. So, the government and public come to know little about the amount of pollution caused by these ships. Cruise line ships contribute a fair bit to the process of endangering the life of polar bears. An average cruise ship carrying 3,000 passengers and crew generates over 30,000 gallons of human waste and about 255,000 gallons of non-sewage gray water each day.

More than 37,000 gallons of oily bilge water and around eight tons of solid waste are released to the water every week. Further, millions of gallons of ballast water containing potential invasive species, and toxic wastes from dry cleaning and photo processing laboratories are dispatched into the oceans. They are fully allowed to release treated sewage and untreated non-sewage gray water including wastewater from galleys, dishwashers, baths, sinks, showers, and laundries almost anywhere they sail.

They are permitted to dump garbage ground into pieces smaller than an inch when they are three miles from shore and ungrounded garbage when 12 miles away from shore. They can also lawfully release untreated sewage, or black water, anywhere beyond three miles from the shore (except in certain areas of Alaska). Statistics reveal that over 80% of all marine pollution comes from such activities. The pollutants enter marine food chains, gradually increasing in concentration until they reach tremendously high toxic levels in the body of the polar bears.

A factory in Minimata, Japan, discharged industrial wastes containing methyl mercury in low concentrations into the sea. As the chemical rushed through several food chains, its concentration rose up to exceedingly high toxic levels in the bodies of the polar bears. The pollutant gradually spread into these animals through the consumption of fish and shellfish. The incident resulted in the death of several bears from mercury poisoning. These pollutants are passed to the Arctic by air, watercourse, and oceans. Arctic animals in top of the food chain stage get greater quantities of poisonous substances in their bodies than those beneath them.

Polar bears, at the apex of the food chain, build up the maximum intensity of the entire. Ecological aspects, too such as oil spills from tankers intimidate polar bears. Fuel emissions from these ships also leave disastrous impacts on the environment. Ships running all over the world today discharge hazardous chemicals and toxics that can be deadly for aquatic and even non aquatic life. Of the worst reported cases, the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. was found guilty of routinely and deliberately dumping waste oil, photo processing, dry cleaning, and print shop chemicals into coastal waters of the U.

S. Their ships contained concealed piping, designed to bypass pollution treatment equipment. A polar bear’s fur is unable to provide insulation when swathed with oil. Furthermore oil spills could sully polar bear food supply. Impacts surrounding this refuse to die and a significant amount of marine pollution due to the black tar-like oil that is washed onto the beach when massive oil tankers illegally cleaning their huge storage compartments, wash out their holds while out at sea, to save time in port. Not only is the oil a nuisance to holiday makers but kills most species of rare polar bears.

An airborne surveillance in 1985 spotted over 64 vessels illegally discharging their tanks in the Dutch sector of the North Sea during 1985. Reports estimate around 72 per cent of all oil pollution caused by shipping to be deliberate and illegal against a meager 28% in tanker accidents. Another impact is that it hampers tourism, perhaps the biggest civilian business. The existence of deadly substances in polar bears may have enduring results on their physical condition. The principal menace to the polar bear is the trouncing of its sea ice environment owing to global warming.

on the other hand, the polar bear is also harassed by further human commotion, predominantly oil and gas expansion in its territory . The most consequential events of oil pollution involve spills of petroleum or heavy bunker fuel from disabled oceanic tankers and drilling platforms, from barges or ships on inland waters or from blowouts of wells or damaged pipelines. Extensive damage is also done through relatively frequent spills and operational discharges associated with coastal refineries and urban runoff. Numerous serious oil spillages caused by tankers have been witnessed in the past thirty years or so.

All of the tankers involved were of the older single hull design. The Alaskan polar bear population depends a great deal on the Arctic coastal plain. It furthermore depends on the ice on the Beaufort and Chukchi seas for hunting. Together these surroundings are endangered by the escalating oil and gas expansion. Even though the polar bear is, at the moment listed as an endangered species, the Secretary of Interior restricted definite safeguard for the polar bear and will consent to oil and gas progress to keep on, in vital polar bear surroundings.

In reality oil spills may have devastating effects on polar bears. Being toxic to marine life, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are the components in crude oil, are very difficult to clean and last for years in the sediments and marine environments. Polar bears that are constantly exposed to PAHs can exhibit developmental problems, susceptibility to various disease, and abnormal reproductive cycles. The Exxon Valdez incident, one of the more widely known spills, occurred as the ship ran aground and dumped a massive amount of oil into the coastal waters of Alaska in March of 1989.

Despite hard efforts of scientists, biotechnologists and environmentalists, the incident killed more than 30,000 seabirds, about 1,000 sea otters, and millions of fishes and caused much damage to a lot of polar bears in the Artic. Scientists keep on watching the intensity of venomous substances in polar bears to verify their lasting consequence. Radionuclides, from nuclear waste discarding in the Russian Arctic, may have dangerous effect on polar bears, and the Arctic flora and fauna as a total.

Formidable problems can occur during wars when enormous quantities of petroleum are released into the seas. Because petroleum and its refined products are vital economic and industrial commodities, adversary forces commonly target supertankers and other petroleum-related sources during wars. Another issue is ship breaking. The nature of materials being dealt with makes ship breaking a highly polluting industry. Materials like asbestos, polycarbonate Biphenyls or PCBs, thermo cols and other toxic materials like glass wool are suddenly exposed to the environment when a ship is broken.

In the Second World War, German submarines sank 42 tankers off the east coast of the United States, causing a total spillage of about 460,000 tons of petroleum and refined products. More than 314 attacks on oil tankers were registered during the Iran-Iraq War of 1981-1987. The Iraqi forces damaged five giant tankers and three production wells at the offshore Nowruz complex, resulting in the spillage of more than 287,000 tons of petroleum into the Gulf of Arabia. The brief Gulf War of 1991 witnessed the largest-ever petroleum spill into the Artic environment when the Iraqi forces deliberately released an estimated 2.

2 million tons of petroleum into the Persian Gulf from tankers and The Sea Island Terminal, a mammoth offshore tanker loading facility. History reveals that environmental safety was treated with disdain when in 1967, the Torrey Canyon ran into the Seven Stones Rocks, off Land’s End, leaking 106,000 tons of oil onto the rocks and beaches on both side of the English Channel. The mishap severely affected the British guillemots and razorbills and virtually wiped out the population of puffins on the Sept Isles in France. The infamous Amoco Cadiz was wrecked on the coast of Brittany in 1978, pouring 223,000 tons of oil into the sea.

The disaster left the ocean waters ecologically fragile and even ruined the Artic and brought death for polar bears beyond estimable limits. An analysis of the Exxon Valdez accident steering into a coral reef in Prince William, Alaska, shows how more than 37 million liters of oil had spilled to form a slick covering 6,700 square kilometers. The ecological disaster brought the needless death of hundreds of polar bears. This is the consequence of negligent handling and inefficient reinforcing capabilities of oil companies.

In recent times, the tanker, Braer broke off around Shetland, spilling nearly 70,000 tons of crude oil off the Pembroke shire coast in Wales. The result was very similar to previous incidents, ending the lives of thousands of migratory seabirds and aquatic animals. Whenever tankers and cruise ships have wrecked or collapsed, resulting in the discharge of massive volumes of oil and chemical products, the causes for the accidents have been more or less limited. Researches and surveys reveal a couple of obvious reasons for the accidents.

The first reason was the failure or malfunctioning of machinery and the second was the inefficiency of the ship crew. A range of safety features such as automatic shut-down valves ensures that the risk of a significant oil spill is extremely small. Statistics reveal that a major percentage of ships and tankers met with accidents due to malfunctioning of machinery or engine failure. An independent organization must be established that would thoroughly check and monitor whether the vessel deserves to out at sea or not, properly investigating the engine parts, body construction, etc.

All of the tankers involved in accidents and collapses, were of the older single hull design. Such occurrences should decrease with the advent of double-hulled tankers. Many of the major oil spillages and ship accidents during the past 20 years have been caused, or made worse by human error. Human error can mean carelessness, but it also includes continuing to use old, unsafe ships and employing crews with inadequate training. The crew and workforce of each tanker and cruise ship must be thoroughly trained and skilled to be eligible to work.

The crew, specially the higher authority of the vessel, must be well acquainted with the current communication and equipment technology. In a move to save polar bears, regular and surprise surveys and checks of tankers and cruise ships should be conducted in ports and mid seas. Oil spills must be dealt with, efficiently and immediately, minimizing the damage and maximizing the survival of polar bears. This could be done through regular airborne surveys to scrutinize the waters constantly.

Any incidents at sea should be reported immediately. Every government of the world must actively support the plan and take innovative measure to implement the plan. It’s the people’s participation which is the basis for sustenance of polar bears. Individuals can lend a hand by dropping their individual energy utilization and by campaigning for lawmaking acts on global warming at the central, state and local stages. To evade the most terrible threat of global warming, policymakers must ratify strategies that trim down U.

S. global warming pollution 2% per year, leading to about an 80% lessening by mid-century. It’s the civilian who must awaken his knowledge and expertise to successfully tackle the possible outcomes of the disruption of the plan that would eventually not only result in the mass destruction of the natural habitat of polar bears but his own life as well. It is with these efforts that the rate at which our environmental heritage is being squandered can be slowed down. References:

DL Gutnick, E Rosenberg – Annual Review of Microbiology, 1977 – Annual Reviews www. downloads. cas. psu. edu/4H/Pollution. pdf www. lib. berkeley. edu/WRCA/bayfund/2002_2/Port_Present_TeriTim. ppt A Bentley, I Ballard – The Naval Architect, 2000 – hamworthykse. com D Dixon, G Hughes – Presented at SNAME Joint California Sections Meeting, 1999 – dixonmarinesurveys. com S Thomas Jr – law. fsu. edu www. ncseonline. org/NLE/CRSreports/05feb/RL32450. pdf Assessing and monitoring floatable debris, DIANE Publishing, ISBN 1428900217

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