Of all the world’s vast coastal ecosystems there are probably many that come to mind long before the true winner of this distinction. After all there’s the Mekong delta and all it’s sludge filled water ways, or how about the polluted Ganges delta – surely they would have to rank right up there at the top of the list.
Well folks you would be wrong. It turns out that after a rigorous study by scientists at UC Santa Barbara of the world’s coastal ecosystems the honor of having the dirtiest, most imperiled coastal ecosystem belongs to the good ol’ US of A. Yup according to the scientists the mouth of the Mississippi River has been named the most disgusting – and most endangered – coastal habitat in the world.
Note that the Mississippi hasn’t been deemed the ‘dirtiest river’ in the world–but the pollution it carries accumulates in what becomes the dirtiest coastal ecosystem. And as ‘dirtiest’ or ‘most polluted’ tags often do, it means it’s also one of the most threatened. In this case, the ‘hotspot’, or the area where it’s worst, is located right at the river’s mouth, where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
Source: Treehugger – Shocker! World’s Dirtiest Coastal Ecosystem Revealed…and It’s in the USA
According to the Environmental News Service, as quoted by Treehugger, the thing that makes the Mississippi so dirty is farming
. . . the nutrient runoff from upstream farms that flows down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico is responsible for the most tainted coastal ecosystem in the world. These nutrients have led to a persistent dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico caused by an overgrowth of algae that feeds on the nutrients and takes up most of the oxygen in the water, depriving other marine organisms of the oxygen they need to survive.
No wonder the selling of drinkable bottled water is a growing business.