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The 'Dead Zone': You're Paying for It in More Ways Than One

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

From The Huffington Post:

No, not the Stephen King novel. It's no work of fiction, but a growing horror just the same. Every spring, polluted waters from the Mississippi watershed drain into the Gulf of Mexico, bringing a feast of nitrates for algae, which literally take up all of the available oxygen in the process, killing any bottom-feeding sealife and driving away any other critters capable of moving, e.g. commercially attractive fish and seafood.

The "dead zone" grows every year, and is now the size of New Jersey (and I will mightily refrain from NJ jokes). For the tech-minded out there, the oxygen-depletion is known as hypoxia, and the algae takeover of waterways (it also happens in freshwater lakes, streams, etc.) is eutrophication. {For a good technical explanation of the "dead zone" process, go here; for a non-tech/kid-friendly interactive multimedia presentation, try this from the Science Museum of Minnesota.)

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