19 April 2011

Underwater Noise Pollution? Something I Didn't Know Before

One thing I love about my Twitter feed, is how many interesting stories get brought to my attention every single day. This was one that totally took me by surprise. I have to admit that there really are things that I have never thought of before! This is the best part of Life Learning; you never outgrow it! Brain research shows that when you stop using your brain, the connections begin to fade. To this end, I love sharing my discoveries with you, my fantastic readers!

Now on to today's story:

Anyone who lives in a city can tell you about noise pollution. It is an everyday occurrence that we simply learn to live with.. or sometimes, move away from. The sirens of emergency vehicles, road construction noises, the neighbor's stereo or television, even lawn mowers and weed whackers are creating enough to elicit complaints and cause hearing problems. Heck, my vacuum cleaner, blender, and washing machine create quite a bit of indoor noise pollution!

We all know that loud noises scare animals. Every Fourth of July in the US, thousands of cats and dogs hide and whimper in corners. The gerbils and hamsters all bury themselves. A loud clap will get the cat off the counter, and can a dog in it's tracks. These and plenty of other loud noises affect plenty of people of all ages too. Think of how many babies you hear crying at any fireworks display, or the last time you drove past road construction with your windows down.

Have you ever considered how much noise we make underwater? Studies have previously been done that showed that simple sonar was disturbing mammals like dolphins and whales, and even causing them to go deaf. Now a new study is showing just how bad that underwater noise pollution is, and what kind of damage it is causing. This time it was the cephalopods that were studied. The octopi and squid studied were noticed to show immediate physical damage upon exposure to average noise levels in areas where offshore activities were common or continuous. These physical damages even included lesions, and worsened with time.

Most disturbing about this study, is that it was shown that the noise pollution we are creating underwater could have such profound damage as to affect the cephalopods ability to avoid prey, to hunt for food, and to reproduce. Our noise pollution could literally drive species to extinction. I would say that our noise pollution is at an extreme, and we should be concerned with doing something about it. Unfortunately, since the offshore activities include such things as drilling for oil and shipping, I don't see it being something that will happen any time soon.

The only way that change is ever brought about is when enough people know about it to make a difference. You may only be one person, but imagine what can happen if you told someone else about it.

If this looks familiar, it may be that you may remember reading my similar article on RedGage.com.

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