Can we add chemicals to the water in the Gulf to get rid of the dead zone?



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    The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is caused by water flowing into the Gulf from the Mississippi River, carrying nitrogen, phosphorus, and other fertilizers from agriculture.  The presence of these fertilizers in the water creates massive algal blooms; when the algae cells die, they decompose and subtract oxygen from the water.  So the dead zone is caused by a lack of oxygen; and unfortunately, there is not much we can do to artificially add oxygen to the water on a scale that would make any significant impact.  The best way to fix the dead zone would be to reform farming practices so they no longer release such large quantities of synthetic feritlizers into the rivers that feed the Mississippi.

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