Over-supply of nutrients can cause a condition of hypoxia in water bodies. Discuss the harmful effects of such a condition and ways to avoid it.
Eutrophication is the process in which a water body becomes fully enriched with nutrients primarily phosphates & nitrates runoffs from chemical fertilizers. The excessive growth of algae and plankton in a water body are indicators of this process.ï¿½ The growth of algae soon covers almost entire surface layer and known as algae bloom.
Harmful effects of Eutrophication:
- Lack of oxygen: It leads to less oxygen in the deep part of the lake that produces harmful toxins. This demolishes aquatic life in the affected areas
- Effect on fisheries and the fishing industry: Fishing which is the backbone of the tourism industry also suffers from a loss of revenues
- Health effects: Humans become seriously ill from eating oysters and other shellfish contaminated with toxins
- Loss of freshwater lakes: It creates a layer of wastes in lakes.ï¿½Eventually, the water body is reduced into marsh
- Loss of coral reefs: Loss of coral reefs can occur due to a decrease in water transparency
ï¿½Ways to avoid Eutrophication:
- The alteration of excess nutrients
- Physical mixing of the water
- Application of powerful herbicides and algaecides
- Reduction in nitrogen emission from vehicles and power plants
- Avoiding the overuse of fertilizers
- Proper channeling of agricultural wastes
Eutrophication is a leading cause of many fresh waters and coastal marine ecosystems in the world. Human activities have accelerated the process to a larger extent. Management of the Eutrophication process is a complex issue that will require the collective efforts of scientists, policymakers and citizens.