Tag Archive for 'agricultural run-off'

Dead Zone Pollution Is Growing Despite Decades of Work, So Who’s the Culprit?


Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org

“Washing off farms and yards, nitrate is largely responsible for the Gulf of Mexico’s infamous “dead zone.” Nitrate and other nutrients from the vast Mississippi River basin funnel into the Gulf, sucking oxygen out of the water and killing almost everything in their path.

The pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Sewage treatment plants along the rivers already have spent billions of dollars, and some farmers now use computers to apply fertilizer with pinpoint precision.

But after three decades of extensive efforts to clean it up, nitrate along the rivers is getting worse. In Hermann, the levels have increased 75 percent since 1980, according to U.S. Geological Survey research published last year.”

Read more: AlterNet


At the Nexus of Agrofuels, Land Grabs and Hunger

Retrieved from: www.afronline.org

“Industrialised agricultural practices currently produce 13.5 percent of all green house gas emissions, mostly methane and nitrous oxide. The latter is emitted in huge doses through the spraying of fertiliser, which is used 800 times more frequently today than it was 100 years ago.

The production of fertilisers themselves requires the burning up of fossil fuels, emitting up to 41 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually according to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

On top of this, heavy farm machinery spits about 158 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, while the water needed for industrial-style irrigation is pumped using fossil fuels that release another 369 million tonnes of C02 into the atmosphere.

And yet, powerful governments like the U.S. and various players from the eurozone, together with the WBG, continue to advocate for the proliferation of agrofuels, which employ the same dirty, large-scale farming techniques described above, as a “green solution” to the climate crisis.

In fact, the production of mono crop agrofuels guzzle thousands of gallons of freshwater, are processed into biodiesels – the very products that have overheated the planet to begin with – and create long, oil-thirsty transport chains to carry the product.”

Read more: All Africa


Suit seeks to stop alleged pollution by CA farmers

Photo retrieved from: www.greenscene.com

“California fishing and conservation groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court, accusing farmers of illegally discharging polluted groundwater into tributaries of the San Joaquin River.

The suit is the latest move in a decades-long battle over selenium-tainted farmland and agricultural drainage problems on the western side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The suit claims the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority allowed contaminated groundwater to co-mingle with irrigation drain water.

The mixture was then discharged without a federal wastewater permit into a canal and a slough that feed to the San Joaquin River and San Francisco Bay-Delta, the lawsuit states.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Lynnette Wirth declined to comment on the litigation.

In a press release, officials with the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority said the lawsuit wastes taxpayers’ money and fails to recognize the benefits of a federal water project that’s used to manage agricultural drainage.

Any facility that discharges wastewater directly to surface water must obtain a wastewater discharge permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the state. While irrigation drain water is exempt from the permitting process, polluted groundwater isn’t.”

Read more: Sacramento Bee