Spring rains bring life to Midwest granaries but foster Gulf of Mexico 'Dead Zone' | Culture Collapse Disorder | Scoop.it
The most serious ongoing water pollution problem in the Gulf of Mexico originates not from oil rigs, as many people believe, but rainstorms and fields of corn and soybeans a thousand miles away in the Midwest.

 

Keynoting a symposium at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, Nancy N. Rabalais, Ph.D., emphasized that oil spills like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, claim a terrible toll. Sometimes, however, they overshadow the underlying water pollution problem that has been growing more and more severe for almost 40 years.

 

“The Dead Zone is a vast expanse of water, sometimes as large as the state of Massachusetts, that has so little oxygen that fish, shellfish and other marine life cannot survive,” Rabalais explained. “The oxygen disappears as a result of fertilizer that washes off farm fields in the Midwest into the Mississippi River. Just as fertilizer makes corn and soybeans grow, it stimulates the growth of plants in the water — algae in the Gulf. The algae bloom and eventually die and decay, removing oxygen from the water. The result is water too oxygen-depleted to support life.”.. (Click title for more)