Tag Archive for 'agricultural pollution'

Raiding the Bread Basket: Use and Abuse of the Mississippi River Basin

Photo retrieved from: www.nationalgeographic.com

“A fleck of phosphorus fertilizer costs a farmer almost nothing. “But that half pinhead per gallon can cost society millions in lost recreational value and cleanup costs,” said Downing, an Iowa State University professor whose water-monitoring group tests 137 Iowa lakes.  “We don’t have lakes that we could point to and say: ‘Here is a pristine lake that has been unimpacted by people.’ ”

You wake up to cereal made from midwestern corn. You slip on cotton clothes, get into a vehicle fueled partly by ethanol and dine later on chicken and rice—all made possible by crops from the Mississippi River Basin, a vast area that stretches from Montana to New York and drains all or parts of 31 states.

The part of the basin east of the Mississippi River largely relies on rain to grow crops; farmers on the west side irrigate much, much more. All told, it’s among the most productive farming regions in the world.

Trouble is, fertilizer that flows from fields (and cities) takes a toll on local waters and eventually reaches the Mississippi River and the economically important fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico, where nitrogen and phosphorus pollution suffocates marine life and has led to a dead zone larger than the state of Connecticut.

What’s Grown

Nearly four out of 10 ears of corn grown in the world come from the Mississippi River watershed. So much corn, soy, and wheat grow here that some communities claim superlatives—Decatur, Illinois, “Soybean Capital of the World;” Sumner County, Kansas, “Wheat Capital of the World;” and Iowa, “Food Capital of the World.” The lion’s share of the country’s corn, grain, livestock, poultry, cotton, sorghum, and soy is grown in the Mississippi basin.”

Read more: National Geographic


Arab Company Agrobics Cleans Industrial Wastewater, Inspired By Olive Waste

“Sabbah explains the problems of the agriculture business: Even with good intentions, the most “organic” of farms produces waste – of the organic variety. Whether it’s a citrus fruit facility, olive press, or meat packing plant, any producer in the agro-industry must be mindful of plant and animal waste that’s flushed down the drain.

“If agricultural wastewater went straight to the wastewater treatment plant, the facility would just collapse.” In his search for ways to increase the effectiveness of biological reactors that digest organic materials in wastewater, Sabbah developed an idea for a system that could be a standalone or add-on to treat agricultural wastewater.”

read more: Green Prophet

16 Cities Sue Manufacturer Of Atrazine Weed-Killer For Contaminating Drinking Water

“The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by 16 cities in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa.  The communities allege that Swiss corporation Syngenta AG and its Delaware counterpart Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. reaped billions of dollars from the sale of atrazine while local taxpayers were left with the financial burden of filtering the chemical from drinking water.”

read more: Huffington Post