Dead Zones In The Gulf Of Mexico

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Dead Zones There are numerous dead zones found around the world and the number is expected to double in the years to come. One of the largest dead zones is located in the Gulf of Mexico. Studies have shown that nitrates from fertilizers, which are used by the farmers, runoff into the Mississippi River then eventually makes its way to the Gulf creating the Dead Zones. In order to stop the ruination of the natural environment, actions need to be taken immediately if we are to protect and improve our waterways. Dead Zones occur when dissolved oxygen levels in the water get so depleted the water cannot support life. When the depletion of oxygen occurs, marine life either dies or has to leave the area. Nitrates from fertilizers and other pollutants…show more content…
“Stratification is the layering of water bodies that have different densities that prevents them from mixing. The continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico is deeper, with colder temperatures, and also contains salt which makes it denser than the warm, fresh, lightweight water being discharged by the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River water then lies on top of the cooler, more saline, denser shelf water” (Kastler, 2009). This line of separation between the two waters still allows contaminated sediment and organic materials to fall through to the continental shelf below. This dividing line prevents oxygen and carbon dioxide from mixing with both bodies of water, therefore causing hypoxia or oxygen deprived areas. This condition occurs every spring and persists throughout the…show more content…
True, there are many farmers in the Mississippi River basin, but there are also many industries located along waterways, millions of vehicles traveling through the basin, ships traveling on the waterways, trains crossing this same area, individual consumers who use fertilizer on a smaller scale than the farmer, many waste management plants, and other businesses, as well as individuals; these all contribute to the pollution of the dead zone. So with that being said, I feel it is unfair to single out the farmer for the total blame on causing the dead zone. When solutions become available they should pertain to all entities that have the potential to cause pollution. Therefore the cost should be equally implemented throughout and not just forcing the farmers to change their livelihood by using new and costly products, which could in all reality, put most of them out of business. If this should happen, the Mississippi River basin could be described as a biological desert. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is something that affects us all, whether we suffer from it or we benefit from it. Not only will we stop the problem in the Gulf, but we can prevent future dead zones from occurring. The time for action is upon us; will we respond in time to stop the problem before it gets

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