Estuarine Pollution Essay

1071 words - 5 pages

Rivers and estuaries have been useful to human beings more than just as a water source. They have been the centre of interest of frontier settlement, which leads to more human activities and wastes, which leads to dumping rubbish into the most convenient place - the waterways. What becomes a problem is that more and more toxic chemicals are being dumped to a point that the waterways could no longer filter it. One of the problems that is becoming a global crisis is eutrophication. Therefore, this paper will be talking about the estuarine pollution, specifically on eutrophication, starting with the source and type of the pollutants, how it affects the estuaries and the management of the pollution.

Eutrophication happens as the water ecosystem becomes more productive due to increasing primary productivity in the estuary. This happens because of the excessive nutrient enrichment which will cause frequent cyanobacteria blooms (Wang and Wang, 2009). The excess nutrients could come from different sources, including stormwater drainage, waste discharges from industrial areas, and runoffs from agricultural farm. According to United States Environmental Protection Agency, the stormwater can pick up debris and chemicals straight from the streets into the rivers and estuaries. Consequently, it also drags the excess nutrients when it is discharged from the storm sewer system. Not only that, the stormwater can also drag nutrients and pathogens form leaking and poorly maintained septic system (EPA, 2003). Excess nutrients in estuaries can also come from chemical discharges from the commercial and industrial areas. These toxins not only can cause illness or death to both aquatic and non-aquatic inhabiters, they contributes a very crucial amount of Nitrogen and Phosphorus discharge in the waterbodies (Mason, 2002). Fertilizers and pesticides used in the farmlands also can indirectly cause eutrophication. As stated by the Government of Western Australia Department of Water, the ‘extra’ fertilizers and chemicals from agriculture and holticulture activities which are not naturally absorbed by the ground will be drained to the nearest waterway. In a way, fertile river floodplains will coherently have a higher chance to get polluted by the excess nutrients, hence further encouraging the occurrence of eutrophication.

As estuaries circulation are driven by density, this affects the nutrient concentration; In a way, it can be said that the phytoplankton biomass is highly influenced by the freshwater inflow from the river and seawater inflow from the sea (Azevedo, 2013). Nevertheless, the eutrophication that occur with nutrient enrichment become the reason of vast growth of phytoplanktons, in this case algae. This growth is further heightened when there is higher light intensity and warmer temperature. The algal bloom lead to depletion of most of the dissolved oxygen concentration for photosynthesis, growth and decomposition activities. This in turn will cause light...

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