The text on this site is presented as an archival version of the script of "Ocean Planet," a 1995 Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. The content reflects the state of knowledge at the time of the exhibition, and has not been updated.

Marine Pollution One

This "buoy" will help you navigate through the causes, effects, and responses to oil pollution, toxic contaminants, marine debris, and ocean mining and dumping.

Each of the four sides of this buoy marks the course through oceans in peril.


Sources and effects of oil in the oceans
When it comes to mixing oil and water, oceans suffer from far more than an occasional devastating spill. Only about 5 percent of oil pollution in the oceans is due to major tanker accidents.
photo © Michael Baytoff/Black Star


Metals and slowly degrading chemicals threaten inland and coastal waters
Industrial, agricultural, household cleaning, gardening, and automotive products regularly end up in coastal waters.
photo © David Woodfall/Tony Stone Images


Trash can kill
When odds and ends of life on land-- particularly plastics--end up in the sea, they can harm marine life when they are mistaken as food or entangle animals.
photo © Charles Fowler


Coastal mining booms could lead to ecological problems
Not only are the oceans used as dumping grounds, but they have recently become the source for materials that by their removal, could have serious consequences
photo © Tony Rath

Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan

gene carl feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Judith Gradwohl, Smithsonian Institution (Curator/Ocean Planet)