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21 Jun

Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Grows Due To Unsustainable Agriculture

The Gulf of Mexico's dead zone continues to grow thanks to conventional agricultural practices. The Gulf of Mexico's dead zone continues to grow thanks to conventional agricultural practices.



Scientists predict that the Gulf of Mexico's "Dead Zone," which flanks the southern shorelines of the United States, will swell to the size of New Jersey this year. The area earned its name as it can no longer support sea life due to lack of oxygen in its waters, a result of nutrient-laden run-off from traditional agriculture. Heavy rainfall this year has caused excessive amounts of fertilizer from Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio to drain into the Gulf.

The problem has been growing steadily since the mid-1980s and has been linked to the inefficient use of fertilizers in the agriculture industry, primarily in corn production.

Closed loop farming systems such as hydroponics and aquaponics have been suggested as possible initiatives to reduce the amount of run-off. While it may be difficult to convince farmers rooted in traditional farming methods to switch to hydroponics, it could present a longer lasting alternative to filtering nitrogen-burdened waste water as suggested by the EPA.

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The Gulf of Mexico's dead zone is growing.
Last modified on Saturday, 22 June 2013 00:21
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