Pollution And Exploitation Of The Marine Environment Essay

Question:

Discuss about the ethical problem related to the pollution and the increasing level of exploitation of the life within the marine environment.

Answer:

Introduction of the Ethical Problem

Human existence has mainly relied on the marine environment for several needs such as food, recreation, economic opportunities and various other purposes. Marine pollution occurs when some form of harmful chemicals, residential waste or invasive organisms would enter into the ocean, leading to pollution (Vernberg & Vernberg 2013). With the increase in the level of population there are several activities that are placing a major impact on the marine environment. The influences placed by humans have increased with the rapid growth of the population (Do Sul & Costa 2014). The considerable amount of development in the field of technology and the changes within the use of the land has also increased the level of pollution of the marine environment. In addition, the air pollution is another contributing factor that may carry dirt or pesticides into the ocean. The air and land pollution have hence proved to be harmful to the marine life and their habitats.

Analysis of the Ethical Problem

The ethical problem that would arise due to the increase in the level of marine based pollution is the loss of biodiversity. There are many species of animals and plants that are mainly threatened with extinction. This would mainly occur due to the spread of deadly diseases, direct exploitation and the destruction of the habitats (Wood, Stedman-Edwards & Mang 2013). Although the possible threats to the biodiversity are not bound within terrestrial ecosystems, there are many serious concerns that have raised about the future of the marine and coastal based wildlife species. This has been resulted due to the over-exploitation, acidification of the seas and oceans and increase in the level of population (Gerland et al. 2014). Therefore, it could be said that the human based activities have a direct impact over the marine environment, which leads to loss of biodiversity.


The Utilitarianism act is based on the belief that an action would be morally right when it would be beneficial for a great number of people. This act is also based on the belief that the moral based correctness of any kind of action would primarily depend on the correctness of the several rules that would be highly essential to achieve the goodness for the society. The proper framework for the Utilitarian approach could decide upon the fact that the ethical based action could be able to provide the maximum benefit or the least amount of harm and thus would maintain a balance between both of the consequences. The theory believes in the basic purpose of morality in order to improve the betterment of the quality of life (Mulgan 2014).

With the provided theory of Utilitarianism, it is highly crucial to analyze the positive and negative aspects of the above ethical problem for the purpose of consideration whether it could be justified ethically. The Utilitarian approach could be applied to the theory of ethics within the provided scenario that could also lead to the decline of the marine life. This would lead to the effect on the human population. The approach and the implementation of the new laws in relation with the marine pollution would allow for the construction of marine structures. This would result in the low level of pollution and would eventually lead to a healthy human population (Pearson 2016).

The marine life within the oceans could be considered as the major stakeholder in the mentioned scenario. They suffer the most due to the high level of pollution within the oceans. The different types of pollution occur due to the entry of several forms of toxic chemicals that are allowed within the oceans. This results to the spread of different kinds of vital diseases. In most of the cases, the cruise liners cause the majority of the negative effects that includes the dumping of their sewage into the oceans. This shows a direct relationship between tourism and action based on the related industries and environmental damage (Eriksen et al. 2014). However, with the rise in the level of pollution, the countries and the cruise liners that are mainly being affected by the pollution levels would lose their share of the revenue. This could be seen as a consequence that would be able to adapt the Utilitarian Approach. There would also be some negative consequences such as the destruction and other kinds of negative effects on the coral reefs. Other negative consequences include the severe degradation of the water resources and the excessive pollution of the sea floor (Kennish 2017).


Based on the Utilitarian Approach, there could also be some positive consequences of the approach on the marine life. With the application of the ethical approach, there are some laws that should be implemented. The new laws that would be implemented would establish for the creation of marine structures. These structures would create such safe places where no such human activities could affect the dump of sewage. The laws would also put some limitation on the cruise liners to some designated places and limiting the industries of fishing (Elenwo and Akankali 2015).

Based on the comparison of the positive and the negative consequences of the theory of utilitarianism, it could be considered that the net utility would hence rise as the result of the implementation of the Utilitarianism theory. This would be helpful in deciding the later course of actions, which would be beneficial for reducing the pollution level within the marine life. Based on the theory, it could be said that the proper approach of the Utilitarian theory would help in the overall better quality of life within the marine environment. This would enhance the productivity of the marine life and thus help in decreasing the level of pollution. However, there should also be some measures that needs to be taken. Hence the use of the theory would be helpful for several organizations in order to enhance the quality of life within the marine environment. This theory would also help in deciding the good acts, which would be highly useful for deciding the rightness or wrongness of a particular kind of action.

Relevance of Marine Pollution with respect to Sustainability

The marine environment provides a lot of opportunities and threats for the long term sustainability of the environment. To achieve the objective of sustainability, the economic, cultural, social and environmental dimensions need to be taken into account. Humans have been extracting and polluting marine resources for the main purpose of food at a demanding rate in recent years due to globalization of the marine industries.

According to a study conducted by Emanuelsson et al. 2014, it has been found that the environmental dimension needs to be considered for the purpose of sustainability as the issues of overexploitation and pollution will lead to decreased harvests of particular fishes. The exploitation will disturb the normal food chain which will lead to unintentional capturing of non-targeted fishes like endangered and protected animals. To maintain the balance of marine ecology, every aquatic animal and plant have their role in it. Exploiting and polluting these environments can disrupt the food chain. For example, in the Shetland Islands, the sand eels were devoured by the seabirds. But in the late 1990s, the overexploitation of the sand eels led to the disappearance of the seabird colonies from the Shetland Islands. The overexploitation can lead to the breakage of a particular food chain which can have a domino effect on the rest of the marine organisms.

The social dimension for sustainability of the marine environment is to consider the fact that with the increased demand for seafood, the prices will rise subsequently. Due to the high demand for the wealthy nations, a huge number of people will not be able to afford seafood and the local communities will be outnumbered by the commercial fleets. This will lead to the loss of income for the local communities (Pitcher and Cheung 2013). However, the heavy exploitation of a particular spot in the marine environment will result in the total disappearance of the biodiversity from that area. This will affect the fisheries and the local community in the long run resulting in malnutrition and food scarcity.


The cultural dimension of the overexploitation of the marine environment is that it can lead to conflicts between certain communities who are affected by it. There are several communities around the world such as the Aborigines of Canada who rely on the marine environment for their livelihood. Exploiting a particular fish species can affect them directly which can lead to conflict between the communities. To address these, species size and limit and fishing seasons have been imposed. Due to lack of food, these communities can migrate to other areas which can affect their cultural wellbeing (Burgess, Polasky and Tilman 2013).

The economic dimension to this scenario is that with over exploitation of the marine environment, the high demand will result in international tensions over the sharing of resources. The high demand will result in high prices especially from the countries like Japan and Bangladesh. Unsustainable exploitation of these resources can lead to the collapse of the local food chain. The disappearance of a productive fish from an area will lead to the loss of income for the people living in that area who are dependent on the marine environment for their livelihoods (Kearney 2013). Businesses will close down and trade wars will start between competitive nations.

References

Burgess, M.G., Polasky, S. and Tilman, D., 2013. Predicting overfishing and extinction threats in multispecies fisheries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, p.201314472.

do Sul, J.A.I. and Costa, M.F., 2014. The present and future of microplastic pollution in the marine environment. Environmental pollution, 185, pp.352-364.

Elenwo, E.I. and Akankali, J.A., 2015. The Effects of Marine Pollution on Nigerian Coastal Resources. Journal of Sustainable Development Studies, 8(1).

Emanuelsson, A., Ziegler, F., Pihl, L., Sk?ld, M. and Sonesson, U., 2014. Accounting for overfishing in life cycle assessment: new impact categories for biotic resource use. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 19(5), pp.1156-1168.

Eriksen, M., Lebreton, L.C., Carson, H.S., Thiel, M., Moore, C.J., Borerro, J.C., Galgani, F., Ryan, P.G. and Reisser, J., 2014. Plastic pollution in the world's oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. PloS one, 9(12), p.e111913.

Gerland, P., Raftery, A.E., ?ev??kov?, H., Li, N., Gu, D., Spoorenberg, T., Alkema, L., Fosdick, B.K., Chunn, J., Lalic, N. and Bay, G., 2014. World population stabilization unlikely this century. Science, 346(6206), pp.234-237.

Kearney, R., 2013. Australia’s out-dated concern over fishing threatens wise marine conservation and ecologically sustainable seafood supply. Open Journal of Marine Science, 3(02), p.55.

Kennish, M.J., 2017. Practical handbook of estuarine and marine pollution. CRC press.

Mulgan, Tim. Understanding utilitarianism. Routledge, 2014.

Pearson, Richard G. "Reasons to conserve nature." Trends in ecology & evolution 31, no. 5 (2016): 366-371.

Pitcher, T.J. and Cheung, W.W., 2013. Fisheries: hope or despair?. Marine pollution bulletin, 74(2), pp.506-516.

Vernberg, F.J. and Vernberg, W.B. eds., 2013. Pollution and physiology of marine organisms. Elsevier.

Wood, A., Stedman-Edwards, P. and Mang, J., 2013. The root causes of biodiversity loss. Routledg

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