Can oxygen pump breathe life into ocean ‘dead zone?’

Jul 28th, 2012

(CNN) — Aquatic “dead zones” are a tragic illustration of human beings’ negative impact on the world’s oceans. They are areas so overloaded with pollutants that they have difficulty sustaining any life.

The flow of fertilizers, sewage and industrial pollutants into rivers and seas has overloaded some coastal marine areas with nutrient waste such as nitrogen and phosphorus. This stimulates excessive growth of plants and algae, which use up oxygen dissolved in the water and kill off other marine life that depend on it.

Globally, their numbers are increasing, with more than 530 aquatic dead zones around the world, encompassing more than 95,000 square miles, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI). Some scientists believe climate change may also be making the situation worse.

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