Ocean Contaminants and the Impact of El Nino

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Ocean Contaminants and the Impact of El Nino

The ocean is inhabited by many and loved by all. Whether you surf the waves or use it for recreational purposes, its important to us all. There are dangers to the ocean that anyone who bathes in it should be aware of. Besides the obvious dangers of the current and the pounding waves, there are possible microscopic enemies at large. Every year the beaches are closed for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it may be for a surfing contest, or if the waves are too dangerous, but the most overlooked may be ocean contaminants. Around 20% of ocean water pollution occurs naturally. Its important for the public to aware of the contaminants that reach our waters and how they get there.


Viruses in the ocean, as products of human activities, are potentially dangerous contaminants of many coastal waters. Total coliform bacteria are a collection of relatively harmless microorganisms that live in large numbers in the intestines of man and warm- and cold-blooded animals. They aid in the digestion of food. A specific subgroup of this collection is the fecal coliform bacteria, the most common member being Escherichia coli or E.Coli. These organisms may be separated from the total coliform group by their ability to grow at elevated temperatures and are associated only with the fecal material or warm-blooded animals. Fecal Coliform is the bacterium that forms in water from fece of humans and other warm-blooded animals. These types of feces can enter directly by animals, such as birds, by discharging into river. Feces also enter water by agricultural and storm run off carrying animal waste, and human sewage discharge.(www.stale.ky.us) The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in aquatic environments indicates that the water has been contaminated with the fecal material of man or other animals. Fecal coliform is not dangerous itself. Its the pathogens that may be found along with fecal coliform that is harmful. Human pathogenic viruses are not only found in the millions of gallons of variously treated human wastes dumped directly into coastal waters from sewage outfalls, but also from runoff from numberous storm drain sewers. Fecal coliform measures are important because they can help determine the probability of contracting a disease from the water. So, the more fecal coliform, the higher the probability of a disease causing bacteria being found in the water.

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