Environmental Impact upon the Oceans and International Law Essay

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Environmental Impact upon the Oceans and International Law

When looking at the environment of the Earth's oceans, it is important to realize that the entire ocean is composed of a different base material than the rest of the mass of the world, this of course, being water. While on the surface this seems elementary, the complications when looking at the environmental impacts occurring can cause serious complications that can affect the problem immensely. Acid rain, for instance, can effective drop the pH of the water to levels capable of causing large fish kills. Global warming can increase the water temperatures around tropical reefs in the summer easily to levels far beyond the tolerable range of the reef forming stony corals.
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The oceans have evolved over the millennia to handle this small amount of nutrients with relative ease. The waste produced by the bio-load of the seas is primarily emitted as ammonia and ammonium, which get broken down through a series of steps involving the bacterium nitrosomos and nitrobacter. The end result is a much less toxic form of nitrogen called nitrates. A third, anaerobic, bacteria is able to alter the nitrates into nitrogen gas which then is able to safely leave the system and enter the atmosphere. This bacteria is only able to live in the area of the seabed that is deep enough to prevent oxygen from reaching, yet shallow enough for the water containing these nitrates to permeate. This limitation in territory naturally limits the amounts of nitrates able to be broken down naturally by the oceans. The influx of nitrates, phosphates, and silicates from pesticides and chemical wastes cause the ecological balance to become disrupted. The microalgaes that live on the reefs can grow extremely fast in a relatively short period of time when given the right conditions. The level of nitrogen that has entered the oceans has increased by over 40% when compared to ammoniums. This increase has been attributed to the steadily increasing use of fossil fuels, and the atmosphere's inability to deal with the emissions (AAAS, 1). The increase in nutrients can create the ideal conditions for these organisms to flourish. Once
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