Agricultural Pollution In The Chesapeake Bay

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‘Agricultural pollution’ is an umbrella term used to describe the sources of wastes, emissions, and discharges arising from farming activities, and includes, but is not limited to: livestock and livestock manure, poultry litter, chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides, sediment, agro-chemicals, organic containments, heavy metals, and general farm procedures. This form of pollution greatly affects bodies of water across the globe. According to 2015 estimates from the Bay Program, “agriculture contributes 42 percent of the nitrogen, 55 percent of the phosphorus and 60 percent of the sediment entering the Bay,” making it the largest source of sediment and nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Nitrogen and phosphorus are the two most common…show more content…
This occurs because excess nutrients can fuel the growth of algae blooms that block sunlight from reaching underwater grasses and, during decomposition, rob the water of oxygen that plants and animals need to survive. Certain species of algae that are common in bodies of water plagued by eutrophication can also contaminate shellfish. When consumed by humans, these diseased aquatic invertebrate cause paralytic shellfish poisoning: a potentially fatal disease. Unfortunately, though there are many drawbacks and negative effects on the water quality in the Bay, no real benefits are found in the water when agricultural pollution is present. The most destructive components of agricultural pollution are livestock manure, poultry litter, and chemical fertilizers. According to 2010 estimates from the EPA, “manure accounts for 19 percent of the nitrogen and 26 percent of the phosphorus entering the Bay” and “chemical fertilizers account for 17 percent of the nitrogen and 19 percent of the phosphorus entering the Bay.” These fertilizers are placed on fields of crops in order to increase total production of the aforementioned…show more content…
Most of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland; as well as portions of New York, West Virginia, and Delaware are a part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, meaning that runoff from those areas will flow into the Chesapeake Bay. Irrigation is used to aid crop growth year-round and during times of limited rainfall. However, many farms practice poor irrigation by overwatering crops, increasing erosion and carrying pollutants from all across the watershed into the Chesapeake Bay. Excess water can also soak into the ground and push nutrients into groundwater, where it can remain for
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