I am writing this letter to address the issue of disposing sewage inour ocean harbor. My name is John Lee, a resident of the coastal townof Bellevue in Beijing. I was born in this town, and I have beenaround long enough to know that the town lacks a credible sewagedisposal plan. Hotels located along the ocean shoreline are notconnected to the town’s sewerage system. They dispose all theiruntreated waste in the ocean. The town’s poorly treated sewage alsoends up in the ocean1.The normal treatment time for sewage is around eight weeks inoxidation ponds. However, when I toured the facility, I noticed thatthe process took a maximum of three weeks. By the fact that oursewage is not disposed in rivers, is not reason enough to treat ithaphazardly.
This issue is important because sewage disposal in oceans hastremendous negative effects. The common misconception that manypeople hold is that an ocean is a self-cleaning body. What they donot acknowledge is that sometimes the poison is too much even for themost efficient self-cleansing system. This issue falls under thecategory of human beings degrading the planet. I am worried that ifthe trend continues we might contaminate the entire harbor and makethe ocean inaccessible for us. Our lives depend on the ocean.Technically speaking, the ocean holds the economy of this town in itsown fate. I do not want to imagine what will become of this town ifwe succeed in making the harbor toxic. However, from past literature,towns that contaminated their harbors have always experienced aneconomic downturn. I would not wish our town to undergo a synonymousordeal.
Sewage disposal in our ocean affects humans and sea creatures alike.Sewage is a threat to coral reefs that hold life in the ocean2.The enormous nutrients in raw sewage lead to algal blooms thatsuffocate the life in the ocean. Algae and fungi growth also impairsthe life of the coral reefs because they compete for space. Humanbeings are affected by foul smell that emanates from the harbor.Unlike the past, nowadays you cannot just relax at the harbor andwatch the ocean the foul smell will keep you off. The death ofmarine life has a negative impact on the human population as well.The number of fish and other creatures that make up seafood has goneconsiderably low over the years. If the town does not change itsways, we might end up buying fish from other towns.
Mostof you must be asking, “What can we do to salvage the situation?”The first step would be to ban all those hotels on the shoreline thatdump wastewater in the ocean. They should be connected with thetown’s sewerage system just like the rest of the establishmentswithin the town3.Any proprietor found to be culpable of committing the offence ofdisposing untreated wastewater in the ocean should face the fullforce of the law. In addition, their business permits should berevoked. The town does not selfish businesspeople that do not careabout the economic wellbeing of this town. The town council shouldalso pass laws that require every property developer to be connectedto the sewerage system.
Bettertreatment of the sewage should be our next area of focus. The currentsystem’s treatment might have been effective in the past, but owingto the high number of toxic elements within the human population, thetreatment process has long become obsolete. The town should invest inmore oxidation ponds to allow more breakdown of matter bymicroorganisms. In the ponds, bacteria and fungi are responsible forbreaking down the soluble substances in the sewage for their ownmetabolism4.If given more time, the microorganisms are able to break down heavymetals in the raw sewage. These microorganisms that triumph in aseemingly inhabitable environment need more time and surface area inorder to increase their efficiency. The town should create more spacefor more oxidation ponds and increase the time spent on sewagetreatment from three weeks to eight weeks.
Finally,we can save our ocean by minimizing the risk of rainwater runoff. Theincrease in human population in our town has led to bursting of sewerlines countless times. While walking to this town hall meeting, Iencountered a burst sewer line in the neighborhood5.When it rains, the rainwater carries the raw sewage into the ocean.We can avert a possible disaster by building improved sewer lines. Weshould not rely on what used to work in 1918 to create a cleanenvironment for all. The city can replace old pipes with new onesthat are not prone to bursting. The new pipes should also be biggerin order to carter for the increased human population the town hasexperienced over the past century. If we follow the action plan, westand a better chance of maintaining the integrity of our harbor.
Chen, Xuejun, Zhemin Shen, Xiaolong Zhu, Yaobo Fan, and Wenhua Wang."Advanced treatment of textile wastewater for reuse usingelectrochemical oxidation and membrane filtration." Water Sa 31,no. 1 (2005): 127-132.
Hausheer Justine. Sewage Pollution: A Significant Threat to CoralReefs. Nature.org, 2015. Retrieved from<http://blog.nature.org/science/2015/06/08/sewage-pollution-great-threat-coral-reefs/>accessed June 19, 2016
Kartal, B., J. G. Kuenen, and M. C. M. Van Loosdrecht. "Sewagetreatment with anammox." Science 328, no. 5979 (2010): 702-703.
McNary Sharon. Local sewage plants say they`re not putting`superbugs` into the ocean, but they don`t really know. Scpr.org,2016. Retrieved from<http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/03/08/58341/local-sewage-plants-say-they-re-not-putting-superb/>.Accessed June 19, 2016.
Palmgren, Claire R., M. Granger Morgan, Wändi Bruine de Bruin, andDavid W. Keith. "Initial public perceptions of deep geologicaland oceanic disposal of carbon dioxide." Environmental Science &Technology 38, no. 24 (2004): 6441-6450.
1 McNary Sharon. Local sewage plants say they`re not putting `superbugs` into the ocean, but they don`t really know. Scpr.org, 2016. Retrieved from <http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/03/08/58341/local-sewage-plants-say-they-re-not-putting-superb/>. Accessed June 19, 2016.
2 Hausheer Justine. Sewage Pollution: A Significant Threat to Coral Reefs. Nature.org, 2015. Retrieved from <http://blog.nature.org/science/2015/06/08/sewage-pollution-great-threat-coral-reefs/> accessed June 19, 2016.
3Palmgren, Claire R., M. Granger Morgan, Wändi Bruine de Bruin, and David W. Keith. "Initial public perceptions of deep geological and oceanic disposal of carbon dioxide." Environmental Science & Technology 38, no. 24 (2004): 6441-6450.
4Chen, Xuejun, Zhemin Shen, Xiaolong Zhu, Yaobo Fan, and Wenhua Wang. "Advanced treatment of textile wastewater for reuse using electrochemical oxidation and membrane filtration." Water Sa 31, no. 1 (2005): 127-132.
5Kartal, B., J. G. Kuenen, and M. C. M. Van Loosdrecht. "Sewage treatment with anammox." Science 328, no. 5979 (2010): 702-703.