Toxic waste in the waters of New York and New Jersey

Essay by jcflyerUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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The widely used term toxic waste is difficult to define, it includes mostly man-made substances harmful to life and the environment. These substances would include, wastes with any of the following characteristics: poisonous, explosive, radioactive, corrosive, flammable, carcinogenic (causing cancer), mutagenic (damaging chromosomes), teratogenic (causing defects in the unborn) or bioaccumulative (accumulating in the bodies of plants and animals and thus in food chains) (Enviro Facts - Toxic Waste - , 2002). Earth contains two major masses on the surface, land and water. Oceans cover over 75% of the earth's surface, and they are responsible for the balance of the planet's environment. Dumping toxic wastes into this deep blue void humans have tried to hide there problems, yet they neglected the fact that these mistakes will affect there own home.

Marine life is delicate; human beings have had a huge affect on this ecosystem. Attempts to save several species have become a major problem in several countries across the planet, since only recently has our technology advanced enough to give us predictions of what will be lost in the coming years.

Oil spills, asbestos dumping, city river pollution, war wreckage, industrial dumping and several other activities contribute to marine pollution. There are other factors such as poaching, sport fishing and commercial fishing, but our focus here is on the toxic effects on marine life. Local winds, waves, and currents disperse wastes that enter the marine environment. Depending upon their nature, wastes are dispersed over great distances.

There have been three basic approaches to disposing of wastes: containment, decomposition, and dilution. Disposal on land or in containers of the seafloor represents the containment approach. The second type of disposal approach generally produces additional wastes such as acidic gases, ash, and sludge. Finally, dude to the dispersive nature of the oceanic environment,