of water by nutrients such as nitrogen and
phosphorus—has emerged as a leading water
quality problem. This report identifies over 415 areas
worldwide that are experiencing eutrophication symptoms, and there are significant information gaps in many regions.
Eutrophication—the over-enrichment of water by nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus—is a leading threat to water quality around the world. Also known as “nutrient pollution,” eutrophication upsets the natural balance of aquatic ecosystems, which can lead to algal blooms, red tides, hypoxic or “dead” zones, fish kills, and, eventually, ecosystem collapse.
My team at WRI, together with Dr. Bob Diaz at the Virginia Marine Institute, has identified and mapped 415 eutrophic and hypoxic coastal systems worldwide through an extensive literature review. Of these, 169 are documented hypoxic areas, 233 are areas of concern and 13 are systems in recovery.
Compares a number of policy options to reduce nutrient loss in the Mississippi River Basin from agricultural sources, provide new income sources for farmers, and help address hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.