We’re destroying the ocean we know, one green lawn at a time
Imagine you decide to go for a walk by the beach; you leave your house and start walking. As you get closer and closer, you start to smell something really bad. You arrive at the beach and realize that there are thousands upon thousands of dead fish washed ashore.
Do you know where you are? Not in your imagination. You are right here in Manhasset Bay, Long Island.
A solution to this problem is to stop using fertilizer or use organic fertilizer. This could bring down the numbers of fish dying because of us. This solution will slow down the algae blooms, which are the main killer of fish.
According to the Long Island Sound Study, “Excessive discharges of nitrogen, a nutrient, are the primary cause of hypoxia;” also when fertilizer comes into contact with plant life, it causes it to grow rapidly for a short period of time, and the plant life dies off just as fast. Hypoxia is a deathly process that takes oxygen from the ocean and causes algae to bloom and other fish to of fertilizer runoff. But, when the algae dies, it takes up the oxygen in the water, suffocating the other fish in the area.
We can stop this deathly process just by using natural fertilizer or no fertilizer at all. This is a huge problem in our backyard, but it's not only here; there are many other places around the world where there is over fertilizing, and it's our fault.
When Did Fertilizer Become the Enemy?
This became an issue in the late 1970s when a federally sponsored study of the Long Island groundwater found that chemicals are getting into our water, according to the Long Island Sound Study. This has been a problem since the 1800s. People are basically dumping fertilizer into the water since that's where it's ending up, but they're not stopping. Concentrations of mercury off Norwalk Harbor, for example, increased more than 1,300 percent from 1820 to 1955. Although fertilizer is what I'm talking about, there are many other chemicals that are killing fish even faster.
How Much Will It Cost?
It doesn’t matter about the money; the ocean is in danger and really no one cares like they should. Landscapers are main contributors since their jobs orbit around lawns and fertilizers. But another huge contributor is golf courses since they have acres of grass and it has to stay green if they want golfers to come and spend money there. But, there are options. Golf courses should be placed more toward the middle of a landmass, away from bodies of water. In addition, courses can use natural fertilizer that won’t hurt the species in the ocean. According to the Golf Course Industry, 18 whole facilities spend $655,392 a year on water, fungicides, and cultivating equipment. But 18-plus hole facilities spend up to $1,387,918 a year on water, fungicides, and cultivating equipment. This is crazy and golf courses should set aside money and donate it to organizations like the Long Island Sound Study or the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor. I think major contributors to the hypoxia castrophe should be teamed up with organizations who are trying to stop the causes.
Is It Our Fault?
We need to stop these horrible "death sentences" we're putting on wildlife in the ocean. We are using too much fertilizer. According to National Geographic, “worldwide, commercial fertilizer adds up to 70 percent of the nitrogen that human activity produces every year.” This is the reason why fish have been washing up dead for a while. According to an ABC News article in early 2015: “Long Island Officials are testing water samples from the Peconic Estuary after tens of thousands of bunker washed ashore over the weekend in June of 2015. This was a big issue on June 1st of 2015” and is still an issue today. Hypoxia isn't just an issue in the Long Island Sound, but around the works as well.
Cirisano, Tatiana. "Lawmakers Seeking $65 Million to Clean Up Long Island Sound." CT Post. N.p., 22 June 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
"Curbing Polluted Storm water Runoff." Long Island Sound Study. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
Rather, John. "With Fertilizer Laws, Suffolk Is Aiming for Cleaner Water." The New York Times. N.p., 12 Mar. 2009. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.
"Around Your Backyard." Long Island Sound Study. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.