Dead zones mushroom in waters around the world

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Increasing reports of fish life littered on shores or massive areas of little life indicate a growing issue; our sea life is dying.

In coastal waters, scientists report the continual spread of dead zones. Known as hypoxia, dead zones are areas in the sea with low levels of oxygen. As oxygen decreases, algae blooms, resulting in conditions in which only a few organisms can survive. Literally, the depleted oxygen levels cause marine life to suffocate.

New World Water

Since the 1960s, dead zones have been detected, but the last two decades show a jump.

Dead zones are human made from decades of pollution.

For example, in addition to the massive mountains of plastic floating in the ocean, daily pollutants include riverine runoff of fertilizers and the burning of fossil fuels. In  the Mississippi River, unusually high nitrogen loads poured into Gulf coast waters last year.

Currently, the largest dead zone is in the Gulf of Mexico. About 8,776 square miles, it is the size of New Jersey.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill connects to the accelerated strain in the Gulf. For 87 days, between 3 to 4 million barrels of crude oil leaked into waters. Following the spill, scientists recorded local sea life showing signs of diseases, stunted growth and genetic defects.

Another dire issue is the ongoing spillage of radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear plant in northeastern Japan. The 2011 nuclear disaster that resulted from a tsunami clobbering the island-nation’s coast still leaks into ocean waters. Reports show dead zones in Hawaii and radiation in Alaskan fish and along the US Pacific coast.

According to Global Dead Zones map created by Virginia Institute of Marine Science, much of the world’s coasts are covered in dead zones, except for Africa.

Dead zones drastically impede food supply such as  fish, crabs, oysters, clams and shrimp, and kill plant life that make it necessary for the ocean to breathe. If you notice, seafood prices have risen dramatically.

The answer is simple, reduce man-made pollution.

Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle announced that California regulators unanimously voted to shut down the state’s last nuclear plant. However, big corporations like Horizon Oil, refuse to end their enterprise.

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