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Suffocating Dead Zones Spread Across World's Oceans

  • Critically low oxygen levels now pose as great a threat to life in the world's oceans as overfishing and habitat loss, say experts
    By David Adam
    The Guardian, UK, August 15, 2008
    Straight to the Source

Man-made pollution is spreading a growing number of suffocating dead zones across the world's seas with disastrous consequences for marine life, scientists have warned.

The experts say the hundreds of regions of critically low oxygen now affect a combined area the size of New Zealand, and that they pose as great a threat to life in the world's oceans as overfishing and habitat loss.

The number of such seabed zones - caused when massive algal blooms feeding off pollutants such as fertiliser die and decay - has boomed in the last decade. There were some 405 recorded in coastal waters worldwide in 2007, up from 305 in 1995 and 162 in the 1980s.

Robert Diaz, an oceans expert at the US Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, at Gloucester Point, said: "Dead zones were once rare. Now they're commonplace. There are more of them in more places."

Marine bacteria feed on the algae in the blooms after it has died and sunk to the bottom, and in doing so they use up all of the oxygen dissolved in the water. The resulting 'hypoxic' seabed zones can asphyxiate swathes of bottom dwelling organisms such as clams and worms, and disrupt fish populations.

Diaz and his colleague, Rutger Rosenberg of the department of marine ecology at the University of Gothenburg, call for more careful use of fertilisers to address the problem.

Writing in the journal Science, the researchers say the dead zones must be viewed as one of the "major global environmental problems". They say: "There is no other variable of such ecological importance to coastal marine ecosystems that has changed so drastically over such a short time."

Full Story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/14/
pollution.endangeredhabitats

 

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Ceejayo
post Aug 21 2008, 11:26 AM



I thought organic farmers also used composted soil amendments (fertilizers) and organic pest control, too. Couldn't those fertilizers also contribute to runoff?

Peter Fulda
post Aug 21 2008, 03:48 PM


What this article ignores, is the contributions of animal wastes to marine dead zone areas. Upstream of the Mississippi Delta, and on the banks of the Potomac are hundreds of poultry farms, most of them factories. Those happen to be the most severe dead zones. But OCA bigwigs are all meateaters, so they'll ignore that just like other polluting industries ignore the impacts of their own livelihoods.

micke13
post Aug 21 2008, 03:57 PM


QUOTE (Peter Fulda @ Aug 21 2008, 02:48 PM) *
What this article ignores, is the contributions of animal wastes to marine dead zone areas. Upstream of the Mississippi Delta, and on the banks of the Potomac are hundreds of poultry farms, most of them factories. Those happen to be the most severe dead zones. But OCA bigwigs are all meateaters, so they'll ignore that just like other polluting industries ignore the impacts of their own livelihoods.


The fact is that with DDT, we never had this problem. Perhaps it is time to get rid of Roundup & go back to the DDT that didn't hurt anyone, except the dumping of huge amounts in one spot. We could eat DDT & not have the climate & oceanic problems that we have today.
Maybe all those poultry farms wouldn't be such big polluters if the "healthy living" people wouldn't have been pushing chicken for years. Today chicken is tasteless, horribly fatty & not good for anyone with all the hormones fed into them! Bring back DDT!!!

Greenknight
post Aug 22 2008, 05:24 AM


Ceejayo - Compost contains low levels of soluble nutrients, most of the nutrients are bound up in organic matter and released gradually as this matter decays. Most of them are taken up by the crops, not much leaches out. Highly organic soil also holds more moisture, so there's less runoff. Organic farmers are more likely to grow cover crops in the off-season, which take up residual soluble nutrients and keep them from washing away.

webman
post Today, 03:49 PM


micke13, how can you make such comments about DDT?

Don't you know that DDT is dangerous? In 1987 the EPA classified DDT as a class B2 probable human carcinogen based on "Observation of tumors (generally of the liver) in seven studies in various mouse strains and three studies in rats. DDT is structurally similar to other probable carcinogens, such as DDD and DDE." DDT exposure is associated with early pregnancy loss, a type of miscarriage.

DDT was a major reason for the decline of the bald eagle in North America in the 1950s and 1960s as well as the brown pelican and the peregrine falcon.