Different kinds of waste have varying effects on mangrove ecosystems.
Liquid waste–pesticides, fertilizers, or sewage that enter the mangrove system through runoff–often results in overnutrition. While mangrove soil can handle excess phosphorus, nitrogen is problematic. Constant inputs of excess nitrogen can kill a mangrove.
Oil from ships, power plants, and road runoff is even more dangerous. Petroleum tends to coat mangrove roots, killing the trees’ leaves and flowers. Petroleum in the soil also prevents young seedlings from taking root or continuing to grow.
Mangroves can tolerate metal pollution fairly well. However, any of these types of waste can be damaging or even lethal as pollutant levels build. And sometimes, it could take years before the damage is realized.
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