Below is a summary of a recent article from The Guardian focusing on this issue.
Since the release of Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2, the damage that humans have wreaked on the world’s oceans has been presented for all to see, with the final episode of the series being entirely dedicated to this issue. In addition to plastic pollution and climate change, noise pollution is also a threat to the global ecosystem – and as a result to human survival.
After fears that the TV series was becoming politically motivated, the BBC demanded a fact-check which the programme passed. The series producer, Mark Brownlow, said that it was remiss to ignore such a huge issue, adding: “It wouldn’t be a truthful portrayal of the world’s oceans. We are not out there to campaign. We are just showing it as it is and it is quite shocking.”
Attenborough, who traveled the oceans worldwide for the programme, remarked: “For years we thought the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong, it is now clear our actions are having a significant impact on the world’s oceans. [They] are under threat now as never before in human history. Many people believe the oceans have reached a crisis point.”
With plastic being consumed by fish and various other contaminants, such as fossil fuels and carbon dioxide dissolving in the water, presenting the most obvious threats in terms of pollution, viewers of Blue Planet 2 are now beginning to understand the threat of noise pollution to underwater inhabitants. Shipping, fossil fuel exploration and tourism are the main causes of noise pollution, which can affect fish populations as dramatically as other forms of pollution. Steve Simpson, from the University of Exeter, who works on coral reefs in Southeast Asia, said: “There is a whole language underwater that we are only just getting a handle on. [Fish] use sound to attract a mate, to scare away a predator. You hear pops and grunts and gurgles and snaps.”
What remains to be seen is what is to be done with regard to these issues and whether or not we choose to fight for the oceans and their inhabitants in order to maintain our chances of survival.