The contamination of ocean water with toxic chemicals has already killed hundreds of thousands of marine organisms and just as many others are threatened. The various toxins can also interfere with the genetic make-up of organisms and douse a variety of physiological changes. Because of the continuous exposure to chemicals and toxins, about two-thirds of marine life has been designated as “threatened species”.
Plastic garbage, which decomposes very slowly, is often mistaken for food by marine animals. High concentrations of plastic material, particularly plastic bags, have been found blocking the breathing passages and stomachs of many marine species, including whales, dolphins, seals, puffins, and turtles. Plastic six-pack rings for drink bottles can also choke marine animals.
Oil discharges that come from recreational boats, fishing vessels and commercial cruse ships are posing a major threat to marine ecosystems in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists have found that these recreational activities are polluting along the British Columbia coast more than oil tankers and commercial cargo ships.