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Explained: Why Seawater is Not Suitable For Consumption

Team StoryWeavers|August 30, 2022, 14:51 IST|

Did your recent family escapade involve spending some time by the seaside? If it is your little one’s first time, this experience involves a whole lot of learning. These are the few ways in which time by the sea benefits and educates your little one: 

  • The sand by the seaside refines their tactile senses.
  • Collecting shells is a lesson on counting and sorting.
  • It offers vast insights into marine life.

But how can one distinguish between the ocean and the sea? These are a few of the many major differences between the two water bodies. Oceans are a vast expanse of water covering 97% of the Earth’s surface, but seas on the other hand are a part of the ocean. 

Seas are a source of food and transportation for human beings, but the ocean is our main source of water. Seas are home to diverse marine animals, whereas oceans are not. This is owing to the fact that sunlight can penetrate through the surface of the sea, enabling photosynthesis. But ocean water is deeper, which makes it all the more difficult for sunlight to pass through. 

Seas are located in close proximity to land but that is not always the case for oceans. 

Our planet is home to 5 oceans – the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Southern Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. There are 57 seas, amongst which a few large ones are the Arabian Sea, Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the Bering Sea. But if you happen to taste seawater, you will discover that it is salty. In fact, in one gallon of seawater, there is half a cup of salt. 

Want to know more about the saltiness of seawater? Read along. 

Cause 1

Rain droplets circulate in the atmosphere and absorb carbon dioxide in the process. Hence, the water becomes slightly acidic in nature. 

Water undergoes further changes when it runs over rocks and gets eroded in the process. They pick up minerals and salt from the rocks they pass through. The friction creates electrically charged ions, of which two are sodium and chlorine, known for their saltiness. Sodium is also a part of the salt that we add to our food. 

Rivers and streams act as a bridge by transferring all the rainwater into the oceans. Since they are continually moving, they retain only a small amount of the salt and transfer most of it to the seas and oceans.

While you might think that evaporation reduces the saltiness in seas, it’s the opposite. When the water evaporates, salt is left behind in the bed of the sea.

Cause 2 

Another factor is when salty water creeps through the seafloor, it causes chemical reactions. The water loses oxygen, magnesium and sulfates and acquires metals such as iron, zinc and copper in the process. 

The sea floor vents help release the water along with metals, making the water salty. 

The saltiness of seas can be attributed to the salt getting lodged into them for over a million years. These salty waters also serve as the breeding ground for the aquatic ecosystem. 

A large chunk of 95% of the sea is undiscovered by man. There are a lot of unexplored wonders beneath these sea waters. It is not all that different from the land because it has mountains, volcanoes, planes and waterfalls. In fact, the tallest mountain on Earth is Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on Hawaii island and 13,796 feet [4,205 meters] above sea level. 

Seas are responsible for producing 70% of the oxygen and absorbing ¼ th of the carbon dioxide that is produced. It also plays a crucial role by absorbing the heat and regularising the climate. It is home to many animals, from the smallest to the largest. 

But the wonders of the sea are at grave risk as the growing level of debris is challenging its sustainability. The health of aquatic animals is deteriorating in the process. Accumulation of plastic is injuring aquatic animals extensively and diminishing their numbers. 

To help conserve the sea, efforts of the slightest kind will make a big difference. Refraining from hunting marine animals, volunteering to pick up litter from the beach, and studying marine animals and the threats that they are exposed to are a few initiatives that you can take. 

About the Author


Coupling her love for children with a zeal for writing, Sonakshi pens down words to make even the smallest difference in the lives of young readers. She believes words are a powerful tool that, when used wisely, can bring about a positive difference. In her spare time, she likes to prop open a book, scribble poetry, or go out on long walks for any stroke of inspiration!

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