Human culture creating water’s dead zones

By Jack Mahoney
10/01/2008; Kennebec Journal; Maine

It is estimated that 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water. Algae grow in both fresh and salt water. They are basic to the food chain of living organisms. They release vast amounts of oxygen through photosynthesis, which is necessary for sea life as well as our own.
Paradoxically, however, too much decaying algae leads to oxygen depletion. The result from this is a dead zone that will no longer sustain fish life or other marine life forms.
Dead zones are spreading around the world, alarming scientists. Once rare, they are now commonplace.
Robert J. Diaz, a biological oceanographer at Virginia Institute of Marine Science, says there are about 400 dead zones in ocean waters, and they have been doubling in size every 10 years. Diaz says chemical fertilizers, effluent, garbage dumping and fallout from power plants that burn fossil fuels are the chief causes for this dire situation.
Nature is so diversified. The ecological balance of life on earth has evolved over eons of time. Man has been a disruptive force, as shown by depleted fisheries, melting polar ice and climate change.
Facts and figures (statistics) were taken from the Kennebec Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle.
A massive cleanup of U.S. beaches was conducted in September 2007 by 190,000 volunteers covering 10,100 miles. They picked up 3.9 million pounds of trash. This is an indictment of our throw-away culture.