The Effects Of Eutrophication On The Environment

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Another social impact of eutrophication is an overall loss of biodiversity in areas of severe nutrient input due to the hypoxic conditions that can occur. As large amounts of algae go through their life cycles, decomposers subsequently eat the dead algae. As these algae are decomposed, the decomposers use up the oxygen in the surrounding water which leads to low oxygen conditions if carried on for long periods of time. Due to these low oxygen conditions, other organisms such as fish cannot survive in these areas and die. This can create large dead zones where few organisms can survive. As Dybas(2005) states in her article “Worldwide, there are now some 146 coastal dead zones. Since the 1960s, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2003, the number of dead zones has doubled with each passing decade”(Dybas, 2005). This impacts humans on a global scale because biodiversity is being lost in aquatic habitats which lowers the resilience of these habitats, which means that if disturbance occurs in these ecosystems extinction becomes statistically more likely. On an individual scale, these dead zones can impact the livelihoods of fishermen in particular, since large areas will no longer support the schools of fish or crustaceans commonly eaten by humans. This represents a loss both towards the earths overall biodiversity, in addition to economic losses for fishermen who rely on the harvesting aquatic species. The last impact of eutrophication is that it overall decreases the quality of water, which is especially dangerous to human populations since only a small fraction of the water on earth is potable. The presence of excess nutrients in fresh water bodies can breed ... ... middle of paper ... ... and preventing human wastes from entering water supplies. These sources are much harder to control, yet by getting people involved locally and educating them on the dangers of eutrophication, informal institutions can be created which can guide individual’s actions towards a brighter future. Even though eutrophication is an incredibly complex problem for sustainability, it can be tackled through the careful tailoring of solutions to each situation. The main two forms of nutrient flows that must be decreased are agricultural runoff and waste water discharge. Through creating a more sustainable way of farming that minimizes fertilizer usage and advanced water treatment methods, in addition to creating local informal institutions that can change individual’s behaviors, the goal of curbing the massive impacts of anthropogenic caused eutrophication can be accomplished.

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