Plankton are essential to all marine ecosystems. The downfall of plankton would be catastrophic to the entire structure of the food web. The destructive open-loop scrubbers are on a rapid track to making that downfall happen.
With 3,756 open-loop scrubber-equipped vessels producing more than 13,000 cubic meters of poisonous scrubber wastewater per unit per day, the damage to plankton is insurmountable.
Plankton play a vital role in the food web of many marine and freshwater ecosystems. Like our regular plant life, phytoplankton partakein photosynthesis, consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen. With many species such as whales, and fish consuming both phyto and zooplankton, toxicant accumulation from this poisonous wastewater travels up the food chain rapidly.
Additionally, zooplankton like Copepods help consume large amounts of algae, which eliminates dead zones and toxic algal blooms that threaten aquatic life from the lack of oxygen or the release of toxins. Some copepods also feed on insect larvae and are being tested for their ability to control mosquito populations in regions affected by mosquito-transmitted diseases(e.g., dengue fever).
Given their importance, a study was conducted to understand the negative effects of scrubber wastewater on plankton. Scientists collected washwater samples from heavily trafficked, near-shore areas, and found that a sample containing a 40% concentration of scrubber wastewater correlated with 0% larvae survival. Likewise, a sample with a 0.1% concentration of scrubber discharge correlated with 0% egg production.
These lethal open-loop scrubbers, used by so called “green,”yet profiteering operators (see list here), create this toxic discharge and contribute to the imminent death of plankton. Along with them, the food web could face major consequences including toxicant accumulation.
Toxic open-loop scrubbers are a LOOPHOLE and not the environmentally sustainable solution that their manufacturers and users try to claim. The public needs to mobilize and force these companies to stop their use.
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