The ocean has millions of species that live in the sea, and we know that environmental pollution is one of the main causes for which they suffer the most, as well as sonic pollution, another important reason why animals are harmed.

In this case, the pollutant is underwater noise, which is caused by boaters, construction, drilling and oil production near the sea.

We will detail below the problems that have led to an increase in underwater noise in recent years and the evaluations that have been carried out to control it.

Impact of underwater noise in recent years

Noise pollution is a very sensitive issue in Chile and the rest of the world. The symptoms that the species present when witnessing such a problem are the following:

  • Different species, from small fish to whales, can become disoriented.
  • They lose their hearing system.
  • And in very extreme cases, death occurs.

These effects overflowed a problem due to the lack of National Legislation to regulate underwater noise and it was for this reason that the Ministry of the Environment formed an Operational Committee to seek a solution to the noise established in marine fauna.

So far, the greatest underwater noise impact is caused by traffic at sea. Sixty years have passed and the increase in underwater noise has developed further, as imported goods are commonly transported by ship, causing more danger in this environment.

Underwater Noise Assessment Report

The evaluations of Underwater Noise that were made in different  areas de Chile, as in Puerto Montt, Valdivia, Osorno and Aysen, showed the strong consequences that were generated underwater, showing how the sound waves were prolonged, generating discomfort to the species. 

Thus, they began to pay more attention to these details and studies began to emerge.

An example of this was in 2015, where we participated in the first proposal to make acoustic measurements in the rivers of Valdivia. This research was coordinated under a field recording and his plan was to make river tours and evaluate the noises that were present.

The equipment to achieve this result consisted of a kayak, microphone and hydrophone, which remained on a carrier buoy and data analysis software.

Their investigation concluded with a noise assessment report stating that they had discovered significant sound levels under the sea produced by maritime traffic.

Suggestions to avoid noise under the sea

As we have already mentioned, one of the main reasons why noise is generated under the sea are the boats, if the engine is large and increases speed, the noise that is spreading throughout the sea brings great consequences.

This is due to the power arising from the boats, i.e., it is suggested to slow down in areas where there are protected species such as in the case of the Nature Sanctuary.

On the other hand, it has been proven that combustion boats are noisier than electric motors. Therefore, it is recommended to make use of them to avoid the spread of contamination on the seabed.

Marine agreements

Although the issue of underwater noise has been discussed for some time now, there is still no national standard that establishes penalties for noise caused by anthropogenic activities. 

During 2018, a technical group of the Chilean Ministry of the Environment was formed, which complies with defending marine noise pollution and marine fauna. In this way, it was concluded that any project entered into the Environmental Evaluation System – SEA, must confirm the existence of contamination through reports that reflect the underwater noise in the sea.

It is at these moments that we must ask ourselves. What is the situation under the sea like in the face of the pollution emitted by humans? How will the species of the sea feel as they pass through the underwater noise

Even if we do not live under the sea or do not witness with our eyes everything that happens in the ocean, we must learn to conserve our nature. Let’s follow the regulations and take good care of them.

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