Dead zones are caused by enhanced phytoplankton activity. Fertilizer runoff stimulates the autotrophic phytoplankton, causing them to multiply rapidly and producing a higher amount of organic material in the water. As this organic material sinks down into the benthic zone of the ocean, bacteria use up large amounts of oxygen to break it all down. Dead zones form when the oxygen become completely depleted, thus causing many oxygen dependant organisms to die. I don’t think garbage dumping has any effect on this specific problem, though certainly it harms the oceans in other ways.
It’s not a “dead zone” but it does create incredible problems for living creatures. The ratio of plastic in te great garbage patch compared to plankton and other sea life is 6:1 -not good. The probem is that most animals, including microorganisms on which other animals feed, will readily eat plastic. But they can’t digest it, so it just stays in their stomachs, making them feel full. The animals feel full and don’t eat, but they’re not getting any nutrients, so eventually they starve to death.
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