What is a Dead Zone? How Can We Ensure Dead Zones Don't Spread?
Algal Blooms, Dead Zones, and Acidification
High quantities of nutrients in the water from industrial crop fertilizers and animal waste cause excessive aquatic plant growth — a process known as “eutrophication,” which, in turn, causes “hypoxia,” or water that is low in oxygen. Harmful algal blooms (or HABs) occur when aquatic algae grow rapidly out of control. Some types of HABs produce biotoxins, which can kill fish and other aquatic life and cause human illnesses, while others use up the oxygen in the water producing “dead zones,” where aquatic creatures cannot live.
Nitrogen fertilizer applied in the farm fields of the Midwest eventually makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico; this, along with runoff from animal waste, is one of the leading causes of the so-called Gulf “Dead Zone,” an oxygen-deprived area of 8,000 square miles in size, in which no fish can survive. Show your love for the planet, by adding plant-based meals to your diet.