Largest Dead Zone In Gulf Of Mexico.
A new report this year, released by Mighty Earth, identifies the companies responsible for the widespread manure and fertiliser pollution contaminating water from the Heartland to the Gulf. Much of this pollution comes from the vast quantities of corn and soy used to raise meat animals, and has caused one of the largest Dead Zones on record in the Gulf of Mexico this year. To identify the companies responsible, the investigation maps the supply chains of the top meat and feed companies, and overlays it with data showing elevated nitrate concentrations in waterways that are experiencing high levels of fertiliser pollution. The report also mapped where these supply chains are driving destruction of natural grasslands, including native prairies, putting new regions at risk for fertiliser pollution. America’s largest meat company, Tyson Foods, stood out for its expansive footprint in all the regions suffering the worst pollution impacts from industrial meat and feed production. Tyson produces one out of every five pounds of meat produced in the United States, and owns brands like Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, and Sara Lee, in addition to selling to fast food retailers like McDonalds. The company is consistently ranked among the top polluters in America, although Tyson’s new CEO has declared that a focus on sustainability will be at the center of the company’s future plans.
A recent analysis from the Environmental Working Group of 2015 public water utility data found that 7 million Americans are exposed to unhealthy levels of nitrate contamination in their drinking water. Researchers recently announced that so much pollution has run into the Gulf of Mexico this year that is has created one of the largest dead zones on record. Fertiliser pollution flowing down the Mississippi River from the American heartland is the cause of this dead zone, by causing toxic algae blooms where marine life cannot survive. This fertiliser pollution comes mostly from industrial corn and soy fields. Last year the USGS reported that around 1.15 million metric tons of nitrogen pollution flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. As comparison, the BP oil spill was 670,800 metric tons, and is not an annually occurring event. Credit: Mighty Earth.
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