Home main Quiz1 SAV Nutrient pollution Quiz2
Nutrients are essential for life.But anything of too much can be hazardous to the health of either humans and chesapeake bay. So how are they hazardous? Where do they come from? and what can we do to reduce them in the bay? We will find the answers in a couple of minutes. oregonju.gif

Table of contents:

Introduction Statistical facts Part of a solution
Effects of nutrient pollution Measures being taken


Major pollutants in the chesapeake bay are nutrients. The two primary nutrients are nitrogen and phosphorus.They are essential for life and occur naturally in soil and water.
Sewage treatment plants, industries, vehicle exhaust, acid rain, and runoff from agricultural, residential and urban areas are the major sources of nutrients entering the Bay. Nutrients run off the land in sediments and fertilizers and enter the bay from sewage treatment plants.Lots of nitrogen and phosphorus can be found in fertilizers used on lawns farm fields, human sewage. 

Majorly there are two types of nutrient sources--

1.Point Source    and     2.Non-point source
Point source:Nutrients coming from a specific source like sewage treatment plants and industrial wastes.       Non-point source:Pollutants coming from many diffuse sources. This may be caused by rainfall or snow melt.Pollutants picked up are mainly human wastes carried and deposited into the lakes, rivers and other water resources.

Effects of nutrient pollution:

Normally nitrogen and phosphorus are essential for life in bay in normal quantities. Only in excess that they cause problems. Excessive nutrients trigger algal blooms in the bay.(Algae are single celled plants present in all water systems.)This excessive growth of algae blocks the sun light from reaching the SAV beds and thereby destroying them.
After these excessive algae die, they are decomposed by bacteria  which uses large amounts of oxygen.Low oxygen levels effects all the living organisms in the bay.
  This is called "Eutrophication" which is the result of deadzones that are virtually devoid of life, because most of the living beings cannot survive without oxygen. nutrient pollution

A few statistical facts about nutrients reaching the bay:

In the past when the bay was surrounded by large areas of forests and wetlands, relatively little or none amounts of nutrients enter the bay.But with the rapid population growth ,reduction in forest areas and increase in industries the amount of nutrients entering the bay has increased tremendously. 318 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 19 million pounds of phosphorus reach the Chesapeake Bay each year.

How can we be a part of the solution?

  • Reduce the nutrient input to the bay:                             Reduce the use of fertilizers in lawns and fields.Plant native vegetation that requires less water and less fertilizers.
  • Reduce erosion by planting trees along the shoreline.
  • Reduce the wastage of water.
  • Try to use natural fertilizers and reduce the use of toxic cleaning materials around the house hold.
  • Trying to be a part of a voluntary organization.                                                         

What is being done?

The Chesapeake Bay Program has been working in cooperation with local governments, industry, farmers, environmentalists, conservation associations, citizen groups and others throughout the Bay region to restore the water quality in the Bay and its rivers by reducing pollution, since 1983. In the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement, the Executive Council of the Chesapeake Bay Program set a goal to reduce the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous entering the Bay by 40% by the year 2000. Achieving a 40% nutrient reduction will ultimately improve the oxygen levels in Bay waters and encourage aquatic life to flourish. The reduction targets for each tributary use nutrient loads from 1985--the baseline for the 1987 Agreement.Nutrient management plans provide nutrient recommendations based on realistic expected crop yield, existing nutrient levels in the soil, appropriate timing and placement of nutrients and other normal farming practices related to efficient nutrient utilization, with particular emphasis on environmentally sensitive areas.
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