Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fertilizer runoff from Midwest farms must stop, National Academy of Sciences says after study

Fertilizer runoff from Midwest farms, which has been blamed for the large "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico and can have adverse affects on drinking water, needs to be reduced, according to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences. The study "recommends launching a national initiative aimed at improving water quality throughout the Mississippi River basin states," reports Kim McGuire of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Philip Brasher of The Des Moines Register's Washington bureau writes, "It will take at least a decade to start seeing results once the first measures are taking to curb pollutants, much of it excess fertilizer that washes off corn farms in Iowa and other states."

"The study, which was conducted at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency, recommends setting reduction targets for watersheds, or river drainage areas, that are the largest sources of the pollution," adds Brasher. The gulf''s "dead zone" has grown over the last eight years because the problem was largely ignored. An algae bloom was discovered in the Raccoon River which is a source of Des Moines' water supply. Bacteria linked to the algae is dangerous to human health. (Read more)

1 comment:

Sujan Patricia said...

Agricultural run-off from the Midwest is contributing to an ever-growing dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico - nearly the size of Massachusetts in 2008. Chemical fertilizers are also derived from petroleum, keeping much of the world’s food supply inextricably linked to fossil fuels.