Toxic Waste Discovered in Pacific

DDT, a banned pesticide, was found in over 25,000 barrels dumped along the Pacific coast.

The DDT was first dumped into the ocean between 1940 to 1960. DDT filled barrels were found nearly 70 years later in 2011 by David Valentine, a marine scientist and professor of earth science and biology at the University of California in Santa Barbara. This toxin has been sitting in the ocean ever since; the barrels slowly disintegrating over time. The barrels are losing their ability to contain that DDT. This poses a risk for marine life. 

In 2015, a study by Dr. Aluwihare stated that there were very high concentrations of DDT found inside bottlenose dolphins, an endangered species. 

“When I first heard about [the DDT], I thought of the sea animals in the ocean. Their home has been polluted even more [than it was before],” seventh grade Hermosa Valley student Milly M. said.

Barrels of toxic waste have been discovered at the bottom of the ocean. Photo courtesy of David Valentine.

“When I read about it more it made me sad and also confused on how much pollution could be in the ocean.”

These chemical laced toxins provide new evidence of why there are so many cancerous sea-animals in that area. If people, as well as other animals, eat seafood contaminated with this DDT, the food chain will be poisoned.

I feel nervous when I go in the water knowing all these chemicals are in the ocean and humans are the cause of it. I feel afraid for marine life because I am positive that some will accidentally eat it or somehow it will get into their bodies and harm them,” HVS student Kai S. said. “This will cause the number of marine life to decrease which will corrupt the food chain. Even if it does not look like the food chain was affected, it still might kill some marine life.”

The areas in which the DDT was dumped were near previously discovered dumping sites. This pesticide was first used in 1948 to kill off insects while farming. However, in 1962 Rachel Carson published a book that warned people that the DDT will slowly make its way into rivers and oceans, killing birds, fish and smaller animals with its poison. Eventually, humans could be contaminated with it too. No other news is out yet, but several groups of scientists are working to eliminate this foul toxicant. 

I love the ocean and go in a lot. Knowing that there are lots of toxic chemicals in the ocean creeps me out,” Milly M. said.