Noise pollution has found its way to deep oceans – A research finds

When we think of pollution created by human activity, the things that come into our mind are atmospheric pollution caused by industrials emissions of greenhouse gases and particulate matter and water pollution due to industrial effluents and sewage. The last one that comes into our mind is noise pollution, and it is surprising to find that noise pollution has found its way even to open oceans, according to research published recently in the journal Science.

Sound waves travels about 4 times faster and farther in water than air. According to Francis Juanes, co-author and an ecologist at the University of Victoria in Canada, many fish and other marine animals use sound to communicate. They rely on sound to locate prey, predators, and to breed. Whale calls can be heard for miles underwater, and a certain type of shrimp called the snapping shrimp uses a popping sound to stun its prey. 

In this Friday, July 26, 2019 file photo, a ship crosses the Gulf of Suez towards the Red Sea as holiday-makers ride a jet ski at al Sokhna beach in Suez, 127 kilometers (79 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt. Image: AP Photo/Amr Nabil

Increased noises on the open oceans due to shipping traffic, motorized vessels, underwater oil exploration, and a swath of other human activities are making it harder for these marine organisms that rely on sounds. 

According to Carlos Duarte, a marine ecologist at the Red Sea Research Center in Saudi Arabia and co-author of the paper, “For many marine species, their attempts to communicate are being masked by sounds that humans have introduced.”

In this Sunday, June 28, 2015 file photo, sergeant major fish, a type of damselfish, swim near the surface of the Red Sea in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, south Sinai, Egypt. Image: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

The researchers analyzed numerous datasets and research articles to ascertain the impact of noise on the ocean soundscape and marine life. The noise created by shipping traffic hovers around the same low frequencies produced by the fish. According to a survey, the overall marine animals have reduced by half since 1960. 

Climate change also indirectly affects the ocean soundscape by way of winds and changes in ocean currents due to melting icebergs and ice sheets.

According to Juanes, from the University of Victoria, unlike other forms of pollution, sound pollution might be simple to address “In theory, you can reduce or turn off sound immediately—it’s not like plastics or climate change, which are much harder to undo.”

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Source: Phys.org

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