Increased arctic shipping traffic will create its own environmental problems
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Increases in resource exploration result in increased navigation.53 In addition to transportation tied directly to oil exploration, the Arctic will also become a favored route for merchants.54
There are numerous reasons to take advantage of Arctic sea routes. Not only are they much shorter than alternate shipping routes, but they also allow companies to avoid the costs associated with utilizing canals and the threats of pirates in certain parts of the world.55 Though the trip may be economically efficient, it is still not entirely void of danger. Scientists predict that icebergs and other hazards will continue to persist well into the future, thus increasing the danger to voyages through the Arctic region.56
Regardless of oil spills, the animals living in the area will face changed circumstances. Ocean-bearing ships leave a significant amount of pollution behind simply by operating in the ocean.57 In 1999, 12.5 percent of all oceanic pollution resulted from the transportation of petroleum.58 Noise pollution is also a serious concern among environmentalists in the region.59 If species cannot effectively communicate, scientists argue, their interactions will be limited, resulting in a less diverse and less resilient marine ecosystem.60 Policymakers should consider this harm in relation to the special state of the Arctic ecosystem, which tends to be more sensitive to these types of external, human-caused factors.