Limiting Dead Zones

Limiting Dead Zones

How to curb river pollution and save the Gulf of Mexico

By Janet Raloff, 15:50 PM April 15, 2008

Second of two parts. Part I: "Dead Waters"

Every second, the mighty Mississippi gushes another 4.5 million gallons of water into the Gulf of Mexico. Along with the water come nitrate and other pollutants. In the Gulf and other large bodies around the globe, plant nutrients—especially nitrate—have created coastal dead zones. The nutrients fertilize the growth of algae, which soon die, settle to the seafloor, and decay. Bacteria feeding on the algal corpses consume so much oxygen that the wat...

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