It is important to note that dead zones of oceans have multiplied in size since 1950, thus, increasing in 1000 percent rate, according to a recent research that has been published in the Journal of science. This recent research lays more emphasis to climate change and industrial animal agriculture as the main cause in open oceans.
However, dead zones are areas in oceans or seas with a low-level of oxygen. Aquatic animals in these areas are usually affected and hence, they die due to low-level of oxygen. Furthermore, dead zone areas in open waters usually vary in size due to the changes in tides and seasons. Nevertheless, dead zones are always present in areas where excess nutrients are available due to conservative agricultural activities that take place, thus, entering the waterways.
Also, human activities are majorly the cause of the increase in dead zones. Climate change, on the other hand, is also caused by the emission of fossil fuels – which are also as a result of human activities. The emission of fossil fuels is also responsible for the increase in dead zones in open waters. It is also important to note that, oceans, naturally, have areas that are low in oxygen-levels which occur in the west of continents due to the rotation of the Earth.
Sadly, coastal zones which usually provide jobs for millions of people today are now deserted, due to the intense increase in dead zones. According to a recent study, it has been known that dead zones have increased by an area which is almost the size of the European Union since 1950, where 50 dead zones were stated across the world today.
A recent study made by the mirrors environmental group Mighty’s research from 2017, has also stated that agricultural runoff is the major cause of the largest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Although, much blames were put on the Americans’ for their love for meat by Mighty’s research especially with red signs from Tyson Foods, which is one of the biggest meat companies in the United States. Thanks to Tyson foods and companies like them, they have contributed to the runoff of nutrients that have resulted in dead zones in open oceans.
“Recent research is no longer a surprise and they have further ascertained that the unimpeded pollution from agricultural industries has attained a critical level and immediate measures are needed to curb the problem,” said Lucia von Reusner, Campaign Director for Mighty Earth.
One question that comes to the mind is how the animal agricultural industry is the main cause of dead zone in open seas. It is important to note that animals that are reared for the production of food produce 130 times more dung than the whole population of humans. However, over 335 million tons of manure at the dry weight is produced by animals in the U.S every year.
Most times, if there are inadequate facilities to take care of the wastes produced from these animals, the manure or dung excreted would definitely end up in the groundwater and then, it will flow into the ocean and accumulate –approximately over 335 million tons of extra nutrient
The accumulation of the dung from livestock is only part of the problem. It necessary to know that there is a reason why this livestock are excreting, and it is due to excess nitrogen and phosphorous. Over 85% of soybean production over the world belongs to livestock feed. It has also been recorded that 80% of processed corn in the U.S belongs to animal feed. With this, you can see that a lot of composts are used to grow farm produce. Also, in 2011, 22 million tons manure were used for farming in the U.S. Forlornly, do you know that only 50% of fertilizers are actually utilized by crops? The rest fertilizers usually runoff into waterways.
Luca von Reusner has this to say, “food industries like Tyson Foods are the leading the drive behind the demand of corn and soy produced foods, which leads to the increase in the number of nutrients in our open waters and seas.
According to a recent survey made by the One World One Ocean, it has been reported that there are over 405 ocean “dead zones”. The increase in the number of dead zones in our open oceans is as a result of the increase in human population and agricultural activities. With more than ninety million acres of corn last year reported by Scientific American, the number of dead zones in open oceans have increased sporadically, thus, threatening the lives of marine animals.
What is the solution to all of these? There are lots of things we can do to stop dead zones. We can start by making the right choice with our diets. Wherever we are, the need to embrace plant-based whole foods are vital. We, humans, have the ability to create a better world for ourselves and our generations to come and the countless of animals on our planet. We can make the right choice by swapping animal-based products to our daily diet.