How does runoff cause pollution in the ocean?



  1. 0 Votes

    Precipitation, irrigation, industrial/commercial operations produce runoff that eventually empties into the ocean or lake. Along the way, the runoff picks up whatever exists on the streets and other surfaces, ie. oil, pesticides, trash like plastic bags and bottles, organic materials, etc… and brings it to the sink (the ocean or lake or some other water body). Southern California’s beaches are very polluted because of this phenomenon.  

  2. 0 Votes

    Runoff damages oceanic ecosystems through nutrient loading. Herbicides and pesticides contain a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus. Once this chemicals make their way to water, they help algae grow exponentially. Once the algae grows in a giant mass and dies after a time, it sinks. Decomposers at the bottom of the ocean then break down the algae by taking oxygen out of the water and releasing carbon. The areas get so deprived of oxygen that animals cannot live in it and it becomes known as a “dead zone”.

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