Acidification of Oceans and Coastal Regions are posing great THREAT to the environment! The future DANGER is knocking at the doorstep!


The term acidification of the ocean and coastal regions is something which needs a greater amount of concern. Many of you might have already guessed what does it mean. In simple terms, acidification may mean an increase in the acid amount. And by acidification of ocean and coastal, we may mean the two becoming acidic.

Burning of fossil fuels is the major source of acidifying the oceans and the coastal regions. The carbon-dioxide acidifies seawater and the land-based sources of pollution, which are also results of fossil fuel combustion, results in acidifying coastal regions. Scroll down to know the two terms in detail and how hazardous they are for the existence of life on earth.

Acidification of Oceans:

We all know that almost about 71 per cent of our earth’s surface is covered with water bodies. Ocean contributes the maximum in availing this percentage. But the quality of the oceans is degrading significantly. 

Well, this is mainly because of our activities. Remember the Industrial Revolution that happened in 1700. Look at how this has changed our daily lives. The Industrial Revolution was a massive evolution in Human History and we people boast it like it is one of our biggest achievements. Well, it might be for us humans as we ignore nature most of the time. If you will scrutinize this great human evolution, you will come to know that after the Revolution, fossil fuels began to burn in larger quantities and today, after thousands of years, this burning has succeeded. This fossil fuel combustion emits CO2 in an enormous amount which eventually degrades the quality of our environment of which oceans are a part. The CO2 amount increased in the environment is not mainly because of the industrialisation. It is also because of other human activities like clearing of forests in a massive amount which has become a recent trend also contributes to the increasing amount of carbon dioxide as there are not many trees left to absorb CO2 produced by our activities.

Carbon dioxide dissolves in water very efficiently just like salt and sugar does and is not visible to our naked eyes but becomes a part of ocean water. You will be astonished to know about one-third of carbon dioxide gets mixed with the ocean water making it acidic. When CO2 mixes with the ocean water they change the chemistry of it. The carbon molecules react very steadily with water molecules and form carbonic acid in the ocean. This carbonic acid later transform into carbonate, bicarbonate ions. When this reaction happens, a proportionate amount of dissolved carbon, carbonate, bicarbonate and carbonic acid is present in the seawater which somewhere contributes to the lives in the ocean. This carbonate formed is used by the aquatic animals to build shells as the carbonate works like calcium for the shells. Now, you may think that it is good. It was good when the amount of carbonate available in the ocean was sufficient. As you know too much of anything is bad. Similarly, the presence of excess carbon dioxide imbalances the carbonate level in the seawater making the oceanic water more acidic, due to which the amount of carbonate left becomes inadequate for the marine animals to make shells. To be worse, too much of acidification can lead to the dissolution of the shells and skeleton.

Due to this acidification, the pH level of the oceanic water has changed. The lower the pH level the more acidic is the solution. Thousands of years ago, prior to the Industrial revolution that has been boasted in the history chapters, the pH level of oceanic water was 8.2 and now it has decreased to 8.1. Now, you will think it is negligible but it is not. A mere change of points in the pH level is due to the ten-fold change in the acidity of the liquid. If you see it from the percentage view, you will understand that the change is of 25 %. 

Coastal Acidification:

Well, this is also because of human activities,, mainly burning fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels not only releases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that creates acidification in the oceans but also brings up acid-forming compounds which are definitely not good for the environment and the coastal regions which eventually leads to the acidification of coastal regions. The coastal regions are also acidified because of the acid rain and an excess of nutrients that comes with seawater, sewage water, etc. resulting in the quality hamper of the coastal regions.

Acid rain is generally due to the increase in the amount of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide due to fossil fuel combustion. This acid rain when falls on earth, it damages the land. This acid rain has a pH level of 4.1 to 4.2.

Well, now you might have understood how these two small terms are creating a future catastrophe for the lives on earth. The causes of all these acidification have been known to the scientists and they are also working in rescuing our oceans and coastal regions from these harmful carbon compounds which are posing a great threat to our environment. But it is also our duty to understand the danger that is knocking at our doorstep. What we individuals can do will bring a greater amount of change to the environment. So, let’s do things that are nature friendly. It is our nature so it is our duty to protect it.