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15 Impact of Drilling Process in Ocean Floor

by Fitriani

Sometimes, drilling the ocean floor must be carried out to conduct scientific research. However, the case is often about extracting oil. Though there are rules and regulations about drilling, they don’t eliminate the negative effects. From these 15 Impact of Drilling Process in Ocean Floor you will gain more information. From the marine ecosystem to human lives, they are all affected by the drilling.

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1. Hardened Ocean Floor

In the drilling process in ocean floor, the property of the sediment can be altered. What used to be soft can turn into hard materials. The drilling process make the sediments rough as well. It’s all due to the mineralisation that occurred. Silicification is also involved, whereby organic materials are covered in materials especially volcanic ones.

2. Destruction of Marine Habitat

Drilling in ocean floor will undoubtedly cause a destruction to marine habitat. There are plenty of marine creatures who use the floor of the ocean as their homes. Other than that, some may even use the ocean floor as their temporary hiding places or shelters. A destruction in their marine habitat would mean that their wellbeing is under threat.

3. Degradation of Nursery Habitat

Nursery habitat can also be impacted by the process. Nursery is crucial for the juvenile and the larvae population. Without them, there would be a decline in the number of specific species. However, drilling process have caused pollution that make nursery habitat to be unsuitable for marine creatures. The degraded habitat means that they can no longer support the young population to thrive.

4. Release of Toxic Waste

Indeed, drilling process can release a lot of toxic waste. There isn’t just one kind of toxic waste. There are multiples, including things such as lead, mercury and cadmium. The toxic waste can pollute the ocean floor. As they come into contact with the ocean water, they can also be transported to other places. Thus, increasing the potential of toxic exposure.

Read more: Effects of Nuclear Waste on the Ocean

5. Increase Mercury Level in Fish

As drilling in ocean floor becomes more frequent, the higher the chance for mercury to be released. This mercury could affect fish that live in the ocean. Other than the fact that it will harm the fish, it will also have the potential to harm humans. It would be unsafe for people to consume fish that are contaminated by mercury.

6. Disrupting Sonic Waves

Sonic waves are released in drilling process in ocean floor. Air guns are often used to enable map creation. This map will help people to determine places that will be suitable for drilling. But there is a downside to that. The sonic waves disrupt marine creatures, especially the mammals. Dolphins, for instance, will find it difficult to swim, find food and communicate with one another.

See more: Conservation of Dolphins

7. Accidental Oil Spill

Companies may claim that drilling the ocean floor is safer now due to the development in technology. However, that doesn’t reduce the possibility of accidental oil spill. Time and time again, oil spill becomes a problem that puts everything within the marine environment at risk. It becomes even more dangerous in places with great depth and low temperature.

Read more: Impacts of Oil Spills in Oceans

8. Trapped Toxic Materials

Toxic materials from drilling can get trapped among the marine environment. They are not completely gone. Traces of them will still linger for a long period of time, probably for years. The situation becomes even worse in icy regions. Oil can’t be cleaned up if the get under ice. Toxic chemicals will also find it harder to disperse.

9. Unavailable Land for Fisheries

Drilling process in ocean floor takes up space. This space could be belong to fishery activities. With the presence of drilling, commercial fisheries will have to look for other areas in the ocean to get their fish.

See more: Importance of Marine Fisheries Management

10. Interrupts Migratory Routes

A lot of marine creatures migrate over long distances in the ocean. But this can be interrupted by the drilling process. Migration is important as that will encourage species to reproduce or find food. But drilling will hinder all that. Species could get confused and find it hard to survive.

11. Marine Creatures Collision

Even though the drilling process take place in the ocean floor, there are many vessels and equipments that will be present nearby. Those things can injure marine creatures. They might swim and accidentally collide with the vessels or the equipments. This will not be good for endangered species as that collision could cause death.

Also read: Endangered Species of the Ocean

12. Life Loss

Drilling doesn’t only cost the marine ecosystem, it can actually cost a lot of lives too. It’s not really talked about but it’s actually a serious impact. As drilling companies go further and further away from the shore, people are more vulnerable to life threatening situations. Rescues will be slow due to the distance.

13. Harming Reproductive Organs in Fish

Chemicals from drilling can mess with the reproductive organs in fish. They harm the organs that will reduce the quality of reproduction. Research have shown that chemicals such as alkynated phenols can make the sperm in cod to be weak.

14. Depletion in Fish Stock

Depletion in fish stock is also an impact of drilling process in ocean floor. As there are just too many threats caused by the drilling, fish often die. The population starts to decline. This will cause a negative reaction in the marine food chain.

Also read: Importance of Coral Reefs to the Fishing Industry

15. Leaving Waste in the Deep Ocean

Drilling process also leave waste. The waste does not only include oil leak or toxic chemicals. They could be mud, fluids and metal pieces. Not all of this waste are cleaned up or even brought back to the surface of the water. They’re actually left behind and pollute the ocean.

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It doesn’t seem like drilling process in ocean floor will stop anytime soon. Even more projects are conducted further out in the ocean for more resources. With the ongoing drilling, resolutions to these impacts should also be carried out to minimise harm in the ocean ecosystem.

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