Gulf of Mexico “Dead Zone” Larger Than Ever and Growing

If you enjoy breathing as much as I do, this story should be cause for concern. 

Toxins spilling into the Gulf of Mexico from the swollen Mississippi are choking off the water’s oxygen at a record pace this spring, leaving a larger than ever oceanic “dead zone” of lifeless water. 

The toxins — primarily agricultural chemicals such as nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides, as well as automobile exhaust and sewage runoff – are killing tiny zoo- and phytoplankton (the little critters who supply about 70% of the earth’s oxygen), and driving away larger sea life.

According to a PBS report, this year’s dead zone, already “the largest ever,” is the size of the state of New Jersey and threatens further harm to the already distressed Gulf wildlife and economy:

Flooding could cause further injury to fisheries in the northern Gulf of Mexico, already reeling from last year’s oil spill, Rabalais said. Dead zones alter the habitat for crab, shrimp, fish and lobster, often forcing them to shallow areas. This includes catchable seafood, like shrimp and snapper, which are vital to the area’s fisheries.

Dead zones are not new to our world’s oceans and river basins, nor are they limited to the Gulf. NASA tracks dead zones in Chesapeake Bay, the Pacific Northwestern coast, the Baltic Sea (which has recently been dubbed “The Suffocating Sea”) and the Yangtzee River — just to name a few of the over 150 known areas of apoxia in the earth’s waters. In fact, dead zone occurences have doubled in the last decade as the earth’s population and the disposal of toxic wastes rise.

View an interactive map of the world’s dead zones developed by environmentalists at the World Resources Institute.

 

Related Stories:

“Like a Monster Coming Down the River”: Record Flooding Threatens Gulf Coast — Again

Dead Zone Increases in Oceans

The BP Drilling Disaster Timeline: One Year Later

 

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (NASA public domain)


167 comments

Paulo R
Paulo Reeson4 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson4 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson5 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson5 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson5 months ago

ty

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W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thanks.

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William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thank you for caring.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara1 years ago

I see this is quite an old article. Plus ca change.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara1 years ago

Awful.

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Dolores D.
De D7 years ago

This is so outrageous...I also wonder how long, and who, will clean up this mess

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