The environmental impact for water shipping transport includes greenhouse gas emissions and oil pollution. The emission of Carbon dioxide from water shipping transport is about 4 to 5 percent of the global total, and estimated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to rise by up to 72 percent by 2020 .These impacts can fall within three categories:

  • Direct impacts:

  • This impact is due to the immediate consequence of transport activities on the environment such as accidents or actions of ships and crews during the operation of the vessels that they generally understood well. These impacts are related to accessibility change where transport enables larger markets and to save time and costs.

  • Indirect impacts:

  • These are less obvious than direct impacts, but the involved relationships are often misunderstood and difficult to establish. These impacts are related to economic effects where the price of commodities, goods or services drop and/or their variety increases.

  • Cumulative impacts:

  • This includes additive, multiplicative or synergetic consequences of transport activities. The various effects of direct and indirect impacts on an ecosystem are taken into account which cannot be predicted.

    In the shipping transport, the movement of vessels requires the intake of ballast water to give them a safe degree of stability. This disposal of water, when takes place within the ports and harbors then it is called as waste product. This disposed water may contain a variety of harmful substances such as

    • Oil contaminants
    • Non-native marine animals and plants
    • Diseases caused due to occurring of organisms in sewage contaminated water
    The Environmental Damage of Oil Contamination

    • Lasting environmental damage

    • Marine animals, like fish, birds, and shellfish are especially sensitive to the toxic effects of oil in the water. Even tiny amounts of oil can impair an animal’s reproductive systems, not only harming themselves but also future generations.

    • Devastation for coastal communities

    • The community that depends on the ocean is the lifeblood, but the complete contamination of that ocean leads economic disaster. Due to Deepwater Horizon spill disaster the fisheries and commercial fishers lost their livelihood. Gulf coast residents reported high levels of mental illness and stress, resulting from the destruction of the ocean.

    • The drilling process is harmful
    • In order to decide where to drill, offshore rigs perform seismic tests on the seafloor. These tests can kill fish eggs and disturb the migratory patterns of fish, whales, and other underwater animals.

    • The drilling operations are polluting
    • Even if an offshore drilling expedition goes perfectly well and no oil spill happens, the operations still subject the surrounding area to pollution. The ocean floor where the drilling takes place is impacted by the toxic drilling waste muds that are used to lubricate the machines and stabilize the drilling hole. Water that is brought up along with the drilled gas and oil contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals like arsenic and lead; this toxic water is discharged back into the ocean.

    • Drilling infrastructure damages wetlands
    • In order to get that oil from the barge to the refinery, miles of pipelines have to be built through fragile coastal wetland areas. Roads and processing facilities are also built on waterside property.

    Non-native marine animals and plants

    An exotic species is a non-native plant or animal deliberately or accidentally introduced into a new habitat. Such species include plants, fishes, algae, mollusks, crustaceans, and bacteria. Such species that are able to reproduce and survive outside of the habitats where they evolved are also referred to as alien, introduced, invasive, non-native, or non-indigenous.
    How Exotic Species Reach Rivers, Streams, and Lakes

    The most common ways for exotic species to arrive in aquatic habitats are:

    • Ship ballast

    • Ships take on water in special holding tanks, to balance their loads. When they reach another port and take on more cargo, they release their ballast. That ballast water mixes with the harbor water, bringing with it any organisms it contains.

    • Ship surface

    • Mollusks and other clinging organisms may attach themselves to a ship in one port, then either fall off or be removed during cleaning at another port, entering the water. Canals have provided additional entry.

    • Deliberate introduction for sport

    • Some sport fishers have illegally imported favored species to a lake or river closer to their homes, in hopes of gaining for successful, convenient fishing.

    How Exotic Species Harm Rivers, Streams, and Lakes

    A non-native animal may survive better than a native, not only because it has no natural enemies in the new environment, but because it grows more quickly or in less favorable conditions than natives. This causes increased competition for resources by native species.

    Exotic plants will

    • Crowd out sunlight and nutrients from other plants
    • Crowd out other plants, jeopardizing animals dependent on native vegetation
    • Overgrow,leading to excessive plant growth, which in turn leads to decay and excess oxygen depletion, which results in fish losses.
    • Crowd out navigation channels
    • Clog machinery

    Exotic animals tend to

    • Consume food sources that native species would eat, leaving insufficient food.
    • Occupy safe or supportive habitat, leaving a reduced amount of habitat for natives.
    • Serve as food for native species but lack certain essential nutrients, leading to death of native offspring.
    • Consume eggs, young, and adults of native species
    Diseases caused due to occurring of organisms in sewage contaminated water
    • Campylobacteriosis
    • This is the most common diarrheal illness , caused by the bacterium Campylobacter. The symptoms include bloody diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and fever .Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a life-threatening infection.

    • Cryptosporidiosis
    • A disease caused due to microscopic parasite Cryptosporidium parvum a water bone disease. It is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long period of time and makes it very resistant to chlorine disinfection. People experience symptoms like diarrhea,  watery stools, stomach cramps, upset stomach, and slight fever.

    • Escherichia coli Diarrhea
    • This can be transmitted by contaminated water or by person-to-person via the fecal-oral route. People experience symptoms like watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. In 2-7% of those who acquire E.coli O157:H7 infection, hemolytic uremic syndrome causes kidney failure and sometimes death. This occurs particularly in children under the age of 5, and those with weak immune systems. Some E. coli serotypes also causes chronic diarrhea in HIV-infected patients.

    • Encephalitis
    • This is caused due to transmission of infected mosquitoes bite, primarily of Culex species. Culex mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in heavily polluted water such as that contaminated by sewage. These viruses are amplified during periods of adult mosquito blood-feeding by continuous transmission between mosquito vectors .The symptoms include high fever with head and body aches, stiff neck, muscle weakness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, coma or paralysis.

    • Gastroenteritis
    • This disease is also known as "stomach flu," an infection caused by any kind of viruses including rotaviruses, adenoviruses, caliciviruses, astroviruses and Norwalk virus except influenza viruses. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, vomiting, headache, fever, and abdominal cramps.

    • Giardiasis
    • A disease caused by the microscopic parasite known as Giardia intestinalis a water bone disease. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time. People experience symptoms such as diarrhea, loose or watery stools, stomach cramps, and upset stomach.

    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver. Symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, and abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and fever.

    • Leptospirosis
    • A disease caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. People exhibit symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. If untreated will cause kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, and in rare cases, death.

    • Methaemoglobinaemia
    • It is also known as "blue-baby syndrome" that can occur in infants due to ingestion of well water high in nitrates. Improperly designed septic systems installed in sandy soils are known to cause nitrate contamination of groundwater. Infants who breast-feed can be poisoned if their mothers drink water high in nitrates. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin, and death can occur within a few days.

    • Poliomyelitis
    • A disease caused by the Poliomyelitis virus. The symptoms are, sore throat, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, and occasionally diarrhea. However, less than 1% of those infected suffer paralysis.

    • Salmonellosis
    • A disease caused by a group of bacteria called Salmonella, includes symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Left untreated, Salmonella can spread from the intestines to the blood stream, to other sites, and can cause death.

    • Typhoid Fever
    • A disease caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi that lives only in the bloodstream and intestinal tract of humans. Symptoms include a sustained fever as high as 104ºF, weakness, cough, stomach pains, headache, and loss of appetite. Some patients have a rash of flat, rose-colored spots.

    avoiding, minimising and addressing the potential impacts within ports and harbours

    The main means of avoiding, minimising and addressing the potential effects of port, harbour and ship generated wastes on the marine environment are provided by the following management practices:

  • Continued education and Motivation of port and harbour users,
  • Production of waste management plans and provision of adequate reception facilities,
  • Preparation and implementation of oil and chemical contingency plans, and
  • Avoid introducing non-native species and contaminants in ships’ ballast waters.

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