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SCI/TECH: Earth's Dead Zones Growing

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posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 03:41 PM
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Dead zones are large poisoned areas at the mouths of rivers and along coasts. Fertilizers, sewage, urban run-off and smog add nitrates and phosphates to water, leading to the rapid growth of microbes. The microbes release toxins deadly to marine life and human health. The number of dead zones is increasing, and the size of existent ones is growing. Including the well-known dead zone at the mouth of the Missippi River, there are now 150 known dead zones world wide.

 



dsc.discovery.com
Earth's so-called dead zones are growing, say researchers who have modeled the causes and the trends that lead to large poisoned areas at the mouths of rivers and along coasts worldwide.

Fertilizers, sewage, urban run-off and even smog are adding nitrates and phosphates to water, which is like ringing the dinner bell if you're a microscopic marine plant, but terrible news for animals. The explosion in plant life lead to lots of rotting plants, which suck up all the dissolved oxygen or can release toxins.

The development of toxin-producing algae in marine environments is a threat to human health when accumulating in fish, particularly shellfish.

"The development of toxin-producing algae in marine environments is a threat to human health when accumulating in fish, particularly shellfish," report A. F. Bouwman and colleagues at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Their paper on the changes in dead zones appears in the current issue of the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

The large dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi River, for example, is an area loaded with nutrients that have been washed down the river, with a great deal of nitrates coming from intensive agriculture in the Midwest, said William Mitsch, professor of natural resources at Ohio State University.

There are about 150 such dead zones worldwide. Many are expected to see changes from increased agriculture inland or simply human population growth that is racing ahead of the capability to treat sewage.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Dead zones are just one of the many dangers environmentalists have been warning us about, along with antibiotic resistant diseases, epidemics and global warming.

In diet as in life, the rule is simple, "Stay away from bottom feeders."




posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 04:16 PM
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Pollutants from most of the country flows from north to south causing the shellfish and commercial fish in the gulf of Mexico to be eaten at risk of who knows what levels of toxicity, [that is the marine life that doen't float to the surface,] then travels along the eastern coast from south to north again killing marine life, [or the shells of lobsters,] and what doesn't disapate in the north atlantic returns to the equater to begin another journey north accumulating more toxins.

an environmental disaster again under the radar of the mainstream media while they kill us with the michael jackson saga.
It seems that once again science fiction is truer than life. The movie Soylent Green predictated the dying of the oceans long ago. Let's hope we don't someday have to eat soylent green.

[edit on 23-2-2005 by kazi]



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 04:24 PM
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dang it sofi,
faster on the draw again... my thread was going to be "earths ocean is an inedible bowl of soup.... yours has a better title anyway.

the dead zones are not a total loss... they can be used as ...... still thinking....
..... yep... i guess they are a total loss....
pave them over and park cars perhaps...

If i can elaborate a little with my own perspective of the problem...
it is the saturation levels... they are just overcoming the ability to dissolve the toxins...

anyone knows that you can add a small amount of a soluble to a solvent and not show much change... the more soluble added, the less solute the medium becomes...

The coast lines are the main areas of this overconcentration...
as the seasons change, the currents start to bring in more solvent, so the concentrations decrease... but only temporarily... because the next time around, the solvent being used to solute the material will be less solvent from the begining... so the problem will start easier and take longer to go away...
the east coast of florida is an example of a seasonal dead zone... the currents help it each year... the missisippi delta is more permanant dead zone, but mainly becuase so much waste is flushed down it every day... it can never dillute it all.

went by my nearby river again... such a pretty color of green... almost flourescent... i wonder what chemical/s makes it that color...
maybe i should take a picture... they say so much...



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 05:08 PM
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All hope is not lost. You could dredge the waste and syphon massive amounts of water to be stored for eventual treatment. Of course dredging can bring up even greater quantities of harmful particles..

If only there was a way to use the fungus that east radioactive waste. It dissolved in tolulene, but I think they beefed it up and are now too scared to let it out! There are several advancements in the application of agriculture to treat industrial problems. I think mother nature has a solution for everything, we just have to discover them before they go extinct and get paved over..

Edited to provide a silver lining: At least we're helping to speed up animal evolution. Whales are a perfect example.

The whales that 'knew' to go away from boats were more likely to survive. The whales that 'knew' to go down instead of sideways survived more often still. The whales that didn't know when to stop, or the ones who couldn't go very deep because of genetic defect, were more likely to die. Those whales that dove and could stand the pressure survived more than any other. There is also less food at those depths, so they became more predatory..

I'm not going to touch on violence being the product of evolution because it would digress too much, my point with the whales; their physical design was refined in the crucible of man's brutal, efficient murdering ways. Sort of sick and sad and wonderful at the same time..
I love those layered emotions, reminds you everyhthing isn't black and white.

There also may be a chemical fix for the water, sort of like you would adjust the PH of a fish tank. I know it wouldn't be an easy endeavour, but there are few things I'd acknowledge as impossible. The flow patterns and density could be recorded for each individual site to calculate an effective disbursement of counter chemicals.

I'm not an aquarium specialist, so I wouldn't have the faintest clue what to add to the water, but I imagine something that would limit the ability of the toxin producers to replicate would be a good start. Perhaps a chemical that breaks down cell walls added to the soup would kill off enough of the bacteria to allow some leg room with the problem. I would hate to lose the ability to fish on the ocean.


[edit on 23-2-2005 by WyrdeOne]



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 05:43 PM
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Ahem.

This is a problem with a simple solution.

ALL that is required are decent filtering systems and more environmentally sound agricultural practices. That's all.

But it's not happening because there's big bucks in pollution. Only reason.

...The line about "rapidly growing urban populations" is pure hogwash. Most of the crud comes from industry.

...As far as cities go, the "rapidly growing urban populations" story is straight bushwa. Maybe urban growth was a big surprise in 1825 - but now? Puh-leeze. Bottom line: There's more profit in releasing nearly-raw sewage than in filtering the waste properly. It's all about money.



.



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 05:51 PM
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Of course it's all about money, everything is all about money. We live in a capitalist country where you need money to survive, so fighting for money is approximate to fighting for your life. It never fails to surprise people though, when others kill for money. We need to change the necessity of having money.

Perhaps if the state provided all basic living needs and the populace through trade, invention, and expertise earned money to buy those luxuries they simply couldn't live without?

Maybe we should just tackle clean energy first.
I mean, i don't even like cleaning my toliet just before I use it, nevermind entire river mouths. I think the energy thing will be well in hand in a decade, maybe half that depending on the amount of government resistance/cooperation. It would be terrible to clean the water up, and while we're working on cleaning up the industry, we're getting the water dirty again...

There should probably be an alternate plan called "Our Plan for the New American Century" that looks in detail into getting this big 'ol locomotive back on the tracks (just as the hijackers are jumping off with their loot).



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 06:22 PM
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Sofi, i love to agree with you, but will digress a little on the point of urban sprawl affecting the problem... it does... it is not the original cause... you are right, but it doesn't help things either... but it is only a scratch on a very deep wound

people are a strain on the environment naturally, but our effects can be mediated very easily...

if everyone used solar energy, recyled drinking water into grey water systems for use in showers and then recycled into the toilets. Then we need to compost all our organic waste, and burn all our non organic waste in high temp smelters with scrubbers... then we would have little effect on the world...

If even HALF the Big companies and countries with no environmental restrictions would do half that much, then the problem would largely be solved without having to alter our lives one bit... but they wont, because it is too cheap and easy to do it the easy way...

Personal story... (yep, got a million of them) i once followed an unmarked oil tanker truck that looked out of place in the farm country of Oklahoma... it went out to an old well site, and dumped what looked like toxic waste...(it didn't look like salt water, and it wasn't oil) into the well. (yes i called and reported them)
the land looked abandoned, and the road was off the beaten path... so i don't know if it was a legal dump site, but the effect is obvious... he was pumping waste diectly into the aquifer for the entire area...

the fool probably thought the same thing every other selfish person thinks..."out of sight out of mind"
what about "but in your body"

this well site is only 20 miles (not far as the aquifer flies) from an area that has a parkinsons disease cluster (Mulhall Oklahoma)...

that prompted me to look up superfund cleanup sites in our state, and i stopped reading at the 100 mark... yes, you read correctly ... 100 superfund sites in Oklahoma alone... and that wasn't even the end... there were pages more...
strangely though, this year there are only 15 listed... more censorship perhaps?
oklahoma superfund sites
even 15 for a state our size is way to many... considering these places will never be "safe" again... not to mention that if these were the worst ones that couldn't be "censored" then they have got to be real BAD...



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 07:35 PM
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Originally posted by LazarusTheLong

... 100 superfund sites in Oklahoma alone... and that wasn't even the end... there were pages more...
strangely though, this year there are only 15 listed... more censorship perhaps?
oklahoma superfund sites
even 15 for a state our size is way to many... considering these places will never be "safe" again... not to mention that if these were the worst ones that couldn't be "censored" then they have got to be real BAD...



Was going to wait till tomaorrow to write - but. FYI - The Superfund budget was cut.

...so no, it's not cleaned up - just off the books, and censored out existence.


.



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 07:41 PM
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Back in the 1950's soap powder was the greatest environmental issue as it was a massive polluter. They cleaned that up.

There are fish back in the Thames in London, a river that was so polluted that in the 19Century you could walk across it on the filth. I have heard in central USA that the wild life have increased and pollution is decreasing.

Its not all doom and gloom, all it requires is the political will to want to change. Unfortunatly that will is lacking under Bush, so if you voted for him you're part of the problem...



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by Netchicken
Back in the 1950's soap powder was the greatest environmental issue as it was a massive polluter. They cleaned that up.

There are fish back in the Thames in London, a river that was so polluted that in the 19Century you could walk across it on the filth.

Its not all doom and gloom, all it requires is the political will to want to change. Unfortunatly that will is lacking under Bush, so if you voted for him you're part of the problem...





How could I forget.


[Edit]

ALL that is required are decent filtering systems, more environmentally sound agricultural practices and a complete overhaul of the chemical manufacturing and drug development industry. That's all.

But it's not happening because there's big bucks in pollution. Only reason.

...The line about "rapidly growing urban populations" is pure hogwash. Most of the crud comes from industry.

...As far as cities go, the "rapidly growing urban populations" story is straight bushwa. Maybe urban growth was a big surprise in 1825 - but now? Puh-leeze.

Probably 99% of the "cleaning" products in any given household are unnecessary - and poisonous. Just get rid of them, and stop making them.

Bottom line: There's more profit in making and releasing poisons than in cleaning up and preventing re-contamination. It's all about money.


.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 12:47 AM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
Edited to provide a silver lining: At least we're helping to speed up animal evolution. Whales are a perfect example.

The whales that 'knew' to go away from boats were more likely to survive. The whales that 'knew' to go down instead of sideways survived more often still. The whales that didn't know when to stop, or the ones who couldn't go very deep because of genetic defect, were more likely to die. Those whales that dove and could stand the pressure survived more than any other. There is also less food at those depths, so they became more predatory..

I'm not going to touch on violence being the product of evolution because it would digress too much, my point with the whales; their physical design was refined in the crucible of man's brutal, efficient murdering ways. Sort of sick and sad and wonderful at the same time..


Whales evolved soon after the Cretaceous extinction of the dinosaurs and the earliest one's date back about 55 million years or thereabouts. The first whales were predatory, having evolved from predatory Mesonychids. In fact all whales are predatory--baleen whales eat small fish and crustaceans, not plants. But back to whale evolution. Basilosaurus was pretty much designed like a modern whale--up to 60+ ft long and streamlined (though with vestigal legs--which modern whales sometimes have). That was 40 million years ago. Baleen whales evolved 30 million years ago. So basically whales have been more or less in their modern form and behavior for about 30 million years before we even showed up on the scene. So we had about zilch to do with whale evolution.

Yes, we've applied serious predation selection on them in modern times--so serious they're damn near extinct. They have small population sizes, even smaller when hunted, and long generation times, and they're both hunted and compete for food with commercial fishing fleets--in other words, while there is ample selection pressure on whales, it is unlikely they'll have an evolutionary response given all of these factors. Most likely they just go extinct.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 02:44 AM
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These dead zones can be cleaned if one was willing to invest the proper amount into a reclaimation project. I love to eat fish especallycatfish. The only ones I purchase are the certified organic homegrown. I dare not eat the wild due to the large levels of PCB's and all the other stuff tht will make yoy grow extra fingers and limbs. There is a great nend in this country to make these sites viable again. We must take the lead in the world and tackle this problem and lead by example. It might make big industry a little nervous from reaching into their deep pockets and whipping ou the cash but they should have to pay the greater part of the clean-up



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 08:52 AM
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Originally posted by FLYIN HIGH

We must take the lead in the world and tackle this problem and lead by example. It might make big industry a little nervous from reaching into their deep pockets and whipping ou the cash but they should have to pay the greater part of the clean-up







Yes - pick up the tab for the clean up AND get on top of prevention. No more profits from killing.



.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 10:09 AM
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Originally posted by FLYIN HIGH
I love to eat fish especallycatfish. The only ones I purchase are the certified organic homegrown. I dare not eat the wild due to the large levels of PCB's and all the other stuff tht will make yoy grow extra fingers and limbs. There is a great nend in this country to make these sites viable again. We must take the lead in the world and tackle this problem and lead by example. It might make big industry a little nervous from reaching into their deep pockets and whipping ou the cash but they should have to pay the greater part of the clean-up


I love catfish also... but sorry to burst your diet bubble, but the local "certified organic" grain feed catfish farm in this side of town is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM A HUGE LANDFILL! (we call them the trash mountains)

sorry to laugh, because i am not laughing at you... but at the situation...
catfish farms need lots of land, and cheap land... and where do you get cheap land? right next to landfills! the short sighted owners don't consider that the contaminated runoff water migrates thru soil, and ends up in all local area water sheds...

I also noticed that the North Canadian river flows right past the same landfill, (practically under it) and to top that off, they are using the river to form a commercial sand basin RIGHT AT THE BASE OF THE LANDFILL... the sand is harvested every day to be sold as general use sand, and SANDBOX SAND for the kiddies...
if i was a bettin man, i would say that the sand probably has more contaminants per pound than actual sand...

i am sure that this is a means of "dilluting" the contaminants into the community, so that they don't build up in one area, "thus showing deadly concentrations at the landfill site that would require closing..." I also see people fishing down river just miles from the landfill... for catfish... I feel like the state owes it to people to warn them that they are fishing in contaminatied water... there is not one "no fishing" sign along the river...

but as was said before... there is hope...
Arcadia lake of Oklahoma is a manmade lake that is almost TOTALLY formed from the storm drain system from Oklahoma city... Yep, everything that runs off the streets of OKC ends up as the water supply for the city of edmond AND IT IS THE CLEANIST DRINKING WATER IN OKLAHOMA. or at least that is what the tests show (perhaps more censorship) . The water looks horrendous with drifts of brown foam that coagulate on the shorelines, but is supposidly good to drink after going thru a state of the art, treatment center.

I have fished for practically all 35 years of my life, and have seen an increase in fish with organs outside there bellys, fish with strange growths, and fish that have wierd discoloration, as well as the occasional mutant frog or turtle...
it really bothers me that "nature" just isn't "nature" anymore... it is manmade frankenfish, and manmade sludge banks, and manmade brown foam...

not exactly what i want my future children to grow up with.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 10:38 AM
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Originally posted by LazarusTheLong

I have fished for practically all 35 years of my life, and have seen an increase in fish with organs outside there bellys, fish with strange growths, and fish that have wierd discoloration, as well as the occasional mutant frog or turtle...
it really bothers me that "nature" just isn't "nature" anymore... it is manmade frankenfish, and manmade sludge banks, and manmade brown foam...

not exactly what i want my future children to grow up with.





And people still make fun of environmentalists.





They just don't get it. Health and medicare are high budget items because people in this country are sick - and they're sick because of contamination and mutation-causing poisons in our soil, food, air and water.

Why not just clean up? ...and stop spreading the poisons?

Is that too simple?



.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 12:24 PM
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clean it up?

nawwww that smacks of effort...(with sarcasm)

really though... if everyone started taking more personal responsibility, it wouldn't help the environment that much directly, but it would raise awareness that WE DO CARE about our environment... and that in turn would put pressure on the few good politicians left to support better oversight of corporate dumping and contamination...

We can always try anyway...

when you read a warning on a container that says dispose of properly... do so...
when you change your oil for your car, DON"T DUMP THE OIL, because you could be dumping it into someones water supply... instead, recycle it (many auto parts shops have recycleing collectors)
just a few small steps that will start the "dominoe" hopefully.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 01:30 PM
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Originally posted by rg73
Whales evolved soon after the Cretaceous extinction of the dinosaurs and the earliest one's date back about 55 million years or thereabouts. The first whales were predatory, having evolved from predatory Mesonychids. In fact all whales are predatory--baleen whales eat small fish and crustaceans, not plants. But back to whale evolution. Basilosaurus was pretty much designed like a modern whale--up to 60+ ft long and streamlined (though with vestigal legs--which modern whales sometimes have). That was 40 million years ago. Baleen whales evolved 30 million years ago. So basically whales have been more or less in their modern form and behavior for about 30 million years before we even showed up on the scene. So we had about zilch to do with whale evolution.

Yes, we've applied serious predation selection on them in modern times--so serious they're damn near extinct. They have small population sizes, even smaller when hunted, and long generation times, and they're both hunted and compete for food with commercial fishing fleets--in other words, while there is ample selection pressure on whales, it is unlikely they'll have an evolutionary response given all of these factors. Most likely they just go extinct.



You're right, except in your assumption we had nothing to do with their evolution. We see it time and time again, the most serious stresses bring about the most important evolutions. Evolution isn't like most people seem to think it is, it's making the best out of a bad situation when a few particularly well suited members of the population survive a massive die-off of their less well suited kin. (I know they're all technically predatory, but the difference is the whales that live in the deepest water and are least found by fisherman don't hunt krill. The larger whales, the 'less evolved' whales hang out at the depth where the krill are hanging out, feeding on plankton. The 'more evolved' whales hunt in deeper, colder waters, and they have been far more successful than their shallow water cousins ever since man has modernized his murder appartatus for their species. Do you disagree?

I don't think whales could all go extinct without a serious globabl cataclysm. The number of times in earths history where an entire order has been wiped out..I can't think of one.
Monodontidae, Physeteridae, and Ziphiidae are here to stay!
Monodontidae, Physeteridae, and Ziphiidae are here to stay!



Couldn't resist a little cheer. Anyway, point being there are still a number of promising adaptations that are only being encouraged by man's wanton cruelty. I'm not saying man does good things. I'm saying the bad things he does often have unexpected benefits from the cold, hard paradigm of evolution.

Remember, one of the reasons human beings have evolved so well into race groups, is because of the constant war we're so fond of. Charlegmane is your daddy and don't forget it (if you're European.). Similarly, Genghis Khan is the patriarch of Asians. These sorts of phenomenon occur in animal kingdoms, and the strong DO survive.

Don't be surprised if whales come back to the surface in a millenia with sonar that can sink ships.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne


Don't be surprised if whales come back to the surface in a millenia with sonar that can sink ships.





Oh. I would like that!

Can you see it? Sonar Moby Dick! Go Great White!




posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 05:36 PM
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The lack of edible shellfish does disturb me, but the fact remains many of the shellfish are still managing to stay alive. Admittedly, not in these dead spots, but elsewhere where heavy metal poisoning is at extreme levels. I think retaining the poison may actually be helping the survivability of the shellfish, because if they're toxic, man can't eat them.

The shellfish with the highest tolerance for toxic chemicals will thrive, and man won't be thinning their numbers through appetite. However, the dead spots are inhospitable to all but the most resitant bacteria and worms. I assume the sea floor still has worms at these locations?


We're facing a fundamental problem with capitalists here. They need to be persuaded that what they're doing will make it impossible for their children to make money. Maybe that will shake them back to reality.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 06:11 PM
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Revelations 19:17-19, "I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of Kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men.." '"

Brings new meaning to the name Burger King...




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