Know why urinating in the ocean is not chemically damaging to the marine ecosystem


SPEAKER: So it's summer, and of course, you're heading out to the beach. You're splashing around in the waves from the ocean, when you realize you may have had far too much to drink. The boardwalk is so far away, your feet will get all sandy, so why not just go in the ocean, right? Did your conscience kick in at this point and make you feel guilty? Well, it shouldn't.

It's our mission to make you know it's absolutely OK to go in the ocean. And here's why. First off, urine is mostly water. The average human's urine is more than 95% water. It also has between one and two grams per liter of sodium and chloride ions.

Guess what's in sea water? The ocean is 96.5% H2O, and has a higher concentration of sodium and chloride than urine. urine in seawater also contains small amounts of potassium. So far, so good.

Second, urea is the main waste product in our urine. As our bodies break down proteins in food, urea is the leftover compound that gets rid of the excess nitrogen in our bodies. The amount of urea we release in our urine is just-- pardon the expression-- a drop in the ocean. The volume of the Atlantic Ocean is about 350 quintillion liters. That's 350 and 18 zeroes.

If every person on earth had the average amount of pee containing the average amount of urea into the Atlantic, there'd be just 60 parts per trillion of urea in the ocean. That's nothing, guys. Plus, urea contains a lot of nitrogen. Nitrogen combines with water to produce ammonium, which feeds ocean plant life. So no issue there, guys. We're still good.

Finally, forgetting all the fancy math, every animal in the ocean pees in the ocean. The fin whale lets out about 970 liters of urine a day. That's more than 250 liters. So if they're not harming things, you certainly aren't as well. So there you go. Feel free to pee in the ocean and go back to worrying about more important things like that shark right behind you.

Oh, and we have to mention this. Peeing in the ocean is totally fine, but don't pee in protected areas like reefs or smaller bodies of water, especially swimming pools.