Shipping is responsible for 69% of invasive species introductions to marine areas.
Since as early as 50,000 BC, humans have taken to the sea to travel and trade. Technological advancements have enabled humans to travel further from land, opening the portal for faster and broader communication and trade between nations. Over the last few decades, the shipping industry has grown exponentially— both in number and in physical size of the ships. Today, more than 90% of international trade is carried by sea. Although shipping offers a cost-effective way to move en masse goods across the planet, it also poses the potential for greater global environmental degradation.
Smokestacks tirelessly pump chemical exhaust. Port dredging and pier construction destroy beaches and coastal habitats. Careless anchor droppings shatter and dislodge entire coral colonies. Accidental groundings result in cargo and fuel spills. Sea turtles and marine mammals are fatally maimed by boat traffic. Cruise ship propellers routinely churn up discharged ballast, grey, and black water. From the Arctic to the tropics, ships have undeniably made their mark on our blue planet.
As maritime traffic grows around the world, more and more ocean ecosystems will directly and indirectly suffer. Unless proper regulation and common sense are utilized, we’re all going overboard.