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Underwater Noise Pollution Harmful to Sea Animals

Research has proven that environmental noise pollution is harmful to humans, causing impaired hearing, as well as other health complaints.

The evidence from various international studies also demonstrates that man-made noise is hazardous to sea animals. Loud underwater noises generated by military sonar, boat engines, drilling equipment, and other sources, can be lethal to whales, dolphins, fish, and other ocean creatures.

Scientists have shown that noise produced by sources other than those originating from the natural (bio-acoustic) underwater environment, can cause hemorrhage or other trauma to the marine mammals auditory system, sometimes leading to permanent hearing loss, and, indirectly, death. It also causes displacement from their natural habitat, disruption of feeding, breeding, nursing, and other behaviors vital to the species survival.

In the past decade, after hundreds of whales and dolphins were found stranded on beaches of various countries where naval sonar was being used, suspicion was directed toward this high-intensity equipment, which emits waves of sounds across tens and even hundreds of miles of ocean. This loud noise can disorient the sea animals and impact their ability to navigate.

Animal and ocean advocates say raising awareness of the problem is the first step toward finding a solution. Other measures include adopting legislation protecting sea animals from intrusions of human-produced noise pollution, and banning the use of naval sonar in species-rich areas.

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