Pollution

Humans take a huge toll on the environment in a variety of forms. Small plastic pieces make their way to the ocean where they are consumed by fish. Oils spills occur and nutrient runoff can have a huge impact on coastal ecosystems.

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Oil Drilling Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

DIVE DEEPER

Gulf Oil Spill

The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and...

Sea Turtles Return to the Sea

Sea turtles face many obstacles throughout their lives—net entanglement, light pollution, mistaking plastic for food—among the many that are caused by humans. Get a glimpse of what goes on behind-the-scenes of a sea turtle...
Satellite view of the Gulf Coast oil spill off of Louisiana, April 29, 2010.

State of Emergency in the Gulf

The explosion of Deepwater Horizon, an oil-drilling platform roughly 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, is quickly growing into an environmental disaster that will leave its mark on coastal communities, fisheries, wildlife, and...
Students share a microscope to get a closer look at plankton samples from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

A Current Event in the Classroom: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Students share a microscope to get a closer look at plankton samples from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Credit: Seaberry Nachbar, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Sometimes, a tragic event can become a powerful teaching...
Photograph of an oiled brown pelican squatting on the beach.

Animals and the Oil Spill: What Can You Do?

A brown pelican, the Louisiana state bird, stands mired in oil in East Grand Terre on June 3, 2010. Credit: Office of the Governor of the State of Louisiana Lately we’ve been fielding questions...

Dr. Nancy Rabalais: Troubled Waters in the Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill brought the world’s attention to the Gulf of Mexico and raised awareness of the region’s chronic loss of wetlands and the massive dead zone caused by excess nutrients from...
Fire fighting ships surround the burning Deepwater Horizon oil rig, shooting water at it to put out the flames.

The Gulf Oil Spill: Send in Your Questions

Boats trying to control the fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 21, 2010. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard With the nuclear and humanitarian crisis in Japan, major political changes in North Africa...
A photo of plastic trash floating in the water, taken from below the surface.

Witness to a Plastic Invasion

The Smithsonian Institution's Dive Officer documents a "swirling monster" of plastic trash that she encountered while diving in Belize. It blew in for two solid days: a flotilla of plastic forks, soda bottles, rubber...

The Oil Spill, Two Years Later

Mark Dodd, a wildlife biologist from Georgia's Department of Natural Resources, surveying oiled sargassum seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Credit: Georgia Department of Natural Resources...

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