Eutrophication Essay

491 WordsSep 5, 20142 Pages
Affects of Eutrophication Eutrophication is the process when a body of water becomes overly enriched by nutrients. Although nourishment ordinarily has a positive connotation it does not in this situation. The overly enriched waters cause plant life to thrive, which in turn causes algae blooms. This is a layer of algae covering the water’s surface depriving the living organisms under the surface the sunlight they need to survive (Educational Portal). The plant life also uses all the dissolved oxygen generating a problem for the living organisms below; they now lack oxygen, which is obviously necessary to live. This lack of oxygen is called “environmental hypoxia”. However, plant life is necessary for bodies of waters to be successful; the riparian zone, a mixture of vegetation alongside a body of water helps to provide certain nutrients. Eutrophication can be caused naturally by the earth but that process is not the problem; the human activities that put nitrogen and phosphorus into water are the true problem. One of the biggest causes is agricultural fertilizers; these fertilizers are meant to enhance crop growth but runoff of fields into water enhancing algae and other plant life. The Baltic Sea has been heavily damaged by eutrophication. “The Baltic Sea now contains four times as much nitrogen and eight times as much phosphorus as it did in the early 1900s” (WWF Global). Due to this major increase in nitrogen and phosphorus levels the plant life and certain animal life have thrived while others die off causing an imbalance in that specific ecosystem. Some algae blooms in the Baltic have become toxic due to all the waste, nitrogen, and phosphorous. The economy around the Baltic has also taken a turn for the worse because the valuable fish such as, cod, has suffered while other worthless fish have thrived. There are many ways to prevent eutrophication. One way

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