In lieu of data suggesting that oceans are becoming more acidic, the U.S. House has greenlit four bills regarding research into this acidification. The bills hope to bolster the efforts to understand more about the phenomenon and how to negate its effects.
Alaska Ocean Acidification Network director Darcy Dugan praised the increase in environmental awareness evinced by the approved bills. She claims it’s an essential step towards combating this ever-increasing danger.
Ocean acidification negatively affects natural niches and industries alike. A more hostile environment may cull aquatic wildlife, directly harming the fishing community. As Ph levels vary from one location to another and are also subject to the seasons, some places may experience more problems than others.
This phenomenon has a strong correlation with the greenhouse effect since the oceans take in a portion of the built-up carbon dioxide. The AOAN director states that as many as a million tons of carbon dioxide end up absorbed by the oceans every hour. Today, ocean acidity is up by thirty percent compared to two hundred years ago.
The consequences of high acidity in our oceans can severely disrupt the food chain. The water may become too inhospitable to life on the bottom of the chain, effectively shaking the foundation of the oceanic ecosystem. It may also interfere with the sensory organs of some fish, rendering them blind to incoming predators.
One of the approved bills concerns the evaluation of local fishing communities in most danger from increased acidity levels. The assessment is to be carried out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Dugan feels optimistic about the research into ocean acidification, as it provides foresight needed to prevent potential catastrophes.