Monday, January 31, 2011

Dumping trash in the ocean...sometimes a good thing?

By trash, I don't mean your old fast food. I'm talking about artificial reefs. This concept was brought about the discovery of vast ecosystems created by sunk ships over the centuries. Cities and organizations are now creating these ecosystems from scratch by purposefully sinking large structures made of environmentally friendly materials.

But why bother? Well, for a few different reasons. First of all, these structures promote ecological growth. The sites attract coral, fish, sea anemones, and many other marine creatures who find food and shelter here in a vast ocean.

Photograph by David Doubilet of National Geographic.

But these sites aren't just attracting fish. Divers are also plunging headfirst to get a look at these beautiful sceneries, creating tourism in otherwise drab places.

Those who have passed on have also been partaking in artificial reefs. Instead of a traditional burial, people are opting to have their ashes intermixed with eco-friendly cement and memorialized at the bottom of the sea. Since 1998, Eternal Reefs has been helping the departed leave an oceanic legacy for their families, friends, and descendants to visit for 500 years or more.

However, some biologists fear that these reefs are detracting fish from natural reefs. Since people know quite specifically where artificial reefs are or will be located, there's a huge possibility that fishermen could further destroy dwindling populations of highly desirable fish.

But for now, both authentic and artificial reefs continue to thrive throughout our underwater world.

Did you know that Los Angeles is no longer the dirtiest city in the United States? In fact, they're doing some innovative things with their garbage as well.

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