Eutrophication is what is it? Causes, signs and consequences of the process
Eutrophication is the saturation of a reservoir with biologically active elements that are not characteristic of its ecosystem. Unfortunately, the time has come when environmentalists have to sound the alarm and call for water purification in order to preserve all the species living in this world.
People and the planet
Man is the only living creature on Earth who could not forge a harmonious relationship with her. If we carefully examine the origin and development of each species, we can trace how they either adapted to the conditions of the planet or disappeared from its face, and only man decided that the existence was created exclusively for him, and exploited it for his own purposes. How people are disposed of with the realization of their superiority over other living beings, sees today's generation. Flowering ponds, dead seas, advancing deserts are only a small fraction of what humanity has done during its existence.
The greatest damage to nature was caused in the XX century, and it was caused by the development of such industries as:
- The chemical industry, which has taken a leading place in the food, textile, engineering, pharmaceutical, agricultural and many other industries.
- Land reclamation, in which improper distribution of water resources, the construction of dams and other structures led to disruptions in the habitual ecosystem of water bodies. Often the result of this is subsequent eutrophication (this enrichment or poisoning of water is not peculiar to its composition elements). So it was with the Aral Sea, when in the 60s of the last century, due to the extremely high water intake from Amudarya and Syrdarya, feeding it, it shallowed by 13 meters. Today the Aral Sea looks like, all environmentalists of the world know.
- The electrification of the country, carried out in the 30s of the XX century, also caused the subsequent eutrophication of reservoirs, as it led to the construction of artificial reservoirs. Cut off with a dam from the main river flow, they blocked the movement of water and the natural spawning grounds of fish, which disrupted the river ecosystem, and the subsequent stocking did not change much.
The man did not “make friends” with the planet, since only a small part of people are aware of the scale of the global catastrophe and are included in parties and organizations involved in environmental protection.
Water space of the planet
The concept of the hydrosphere includes the waters of both the World Ocean and water bodies located on land. Among the latter are not only swamps, lakes and rivers, but also glaciers of mountains, Antarctica, Greenland and groundwater.
Most of the water is concentrated in the seas and oceans (94%) in a liquid or solid state. The remaining 6% fall on land reservoirs. The fact that the entire hydrosphere of the planet is a single whole, which cannot be broken, says the community of its waters:
- Through atmospheric vapors and the water cycle in nature, they can communicate with each other.
- The surface of the oceans is almost the same in its level.
- The composition of the water of the seas and oceans on Earth is almost identical and by 35% consists of salts, giving it a bitter-salty taste.
Since everything on the planet to some extent contains liquid in its composition, its importance in the ecosystem is the most important: there is no water - there is no life. This is evidenced by the desert, some of which were previously the bottom of the ocean.
It would be strange to hope that the “reversal of the rivers” that the Soviet Union tried to implement for the sake of industrialization of the country, or emissions of chemical waste in other countries would not entail consequences, manifested in the form of natural disasters in different regions of the world. The reasons for the eutrophication of the oceans of the world today are just the result of what mankind has done in the 20th century.
Important: similar games “in gods”, when people for the sake of their profit violate the ecosystem of the planet, concern not only its hydrosphere. Deforestation on the Amazon has led to the formation of ozone holes in the atmosphere and climate change throughout the Earth.
Unfortunately, mankind has not understood that the entire ecological system of the planet is a single organism consisting of millions of elements, each of which is important for overall survival. Attempts to suspend the eutrophication of water bodies today are pitiful attempts to return them to their original state, like what was created by nature itself.
Abiotic water components
It is not only a habitat for millions of living organisms, but also an accumulator of solar energy, thanks to its properties:
- Its density is 800 times higher than air, and its viscosity is 55 times.
- Water has the highest level of heat capacity, which affects the formation of climate on Earth.
- Water masses, due to their movement in space (circulation in nature), maintain their chemical and physical composition.
- The abiotic factors also include temperature changes (level of warming), depending on the depth of water bodies.
- The degree of saturation of water with oxygen depends on the survival of breathing organisms in it.
- Acidity is also an important indicator, as the inhabitants of water bodies, accustomed to and surviving at one of its levels, die if its rate changes in one direction or another.
- The transparency of the water surface determines the depth of its light regime.
Important: the last factor influences the development, photosynthesis and distribution of green microorganisms, phytoplankton, organic nutrients and their level of accumulation.
The process of eutrophication of reservoirs is started in the event that some or several abiotic factors are violated. Suppose the cause of the death of living organisms in it is due to the turbidity of water caused by an increase in the amount of mineral and organic substances delivered to it by industrial effluents.To change this, it is necessary to eliminate the cause of the clouding (shut off the drain), after which the water is cleaned and then saturated with substances and organisms characteristic of its ecosystem.
Eutrophication is the certain death of all living creatures, not only in water, but also in the surrounding area. Since coastal animals and plants directly depend on the purity of the surrounding water space, which is not only their home, but also a feeding and breeding area, with its destruction their habitat disappears.
Mutual activity of living organisms in the water
Over millions of years of life on this planet between its inhabitants, close relationships have arisen, breaking which can destroy not just any one kind of animals, but a whole ecosystem. Such fluctuations in one direction or another always evoke a response in nature. Take, for example, St. Helena, whose forests were almost completely destroyed by goats brought here at the beginning of the 16th century. Along with them, extinct animals and birds are endemics of this place. The same picture can be observed on some islands of Oceania.
To see such obvious changes in the water is not always possible in time, because the reasons for the accelerated eutrophication of water bodies are not always obvious.For example, flushing the upper layers of the soil, fertilized with organic matter, does not seem dangerous until the lake or river blooms and the fish pops up with belly up.
The need for cleaning appears in violation of the biotic factors characteristic of the area. These phenomena mean the relationship of living organisms that live in a reservoir, which are divided into indirect and direct. The first are the factors on which their livelihood does not depend directly. For example, algae are not food for some organisms, but their presence in a pond affects the saturation of water with oxygen, which they need.
Direct dependence is when the connection between them is so close that it is enough for one link in the food chain to disappear so that several species connected with it are destroyed at once. For example, an oil spill in the ocean causes the death of plankton, the disappearance of which leads to the starvation of many organisms for which it is food.
Such natural disasters and cause eutrophication of this section of water. To restore the former balance,It is necessary to create a favorable environment for the growth and reproduction of plankton at the place of its death - this is an extremely long and expensive process that could have been avoided if people used the power of wind, sun or tides as a fuel, and not natural resources.
Structure of the World Ocean
Both terrestrial land and water bodies are divided into natural zones, each of which is characterized by a separate ecosystem. It is known that the inhabitants of seas, rivers and lakes live at different depths, forming "communities", which include both the simplest microorganisms and plants, fish and animals.
Each tier has its own temperature regime, the level of water saturation with oxygen and light, and its inhabitants do not leave their territory, being an integral part of its inherent environment. So the inhabitants of the depths do not survive, rising to the surface of the water, the same happens with those who leave their zone and sink to the bottom.
In the event that a violation of any component of such a tier occurs, all its inhabitants are damaged. For example, even a slight increase in the temperature of ocean water for a long time leads to discoloration and death of coral reefs, with which their inhabitants die.The released space is occupied by algae, which leads to the complete replacement of the existing ecosystem, which, as a rule, cannot be restored. This applies not only to corals, but also to the inhabitants of freshwater bodies, which are dying out due to the rapid algal bloom.
Scientists believe that eutrophication is the fastest way to disrupt the ecosystem, but far from the only one. There are several types of water pollution, after some of which it is not subject to subsequent recovery, because there is little to “feed” water bodies with the necessary microorganisms and bioactive elements. Efforts are needed to restore their habitat, taking into account all biotic and abiotic factors, which is extremely difficult to do.
Types of biological pollution
If it takes 8-10 days for natural purification of the atmosphere, then it will take 2500 years for the oceans, polluted groundwater can be cleaner in 1,400 years, for a lake this period is at least 17-20 years, and for rivers - up to 20 days. That is why it is so important to prevent eutrophication of water.
If on the planet the volume of the World Ocean is reduced, then the person will face the same gradual extinction as the marine inhabitants.The Earth's climate will change forever, which will lead to the onset of the desert, and, as the authors in the apocalypse genre show their readers, water will cost more than human life.
There are several reasons for the eutrophication of water bodies:
- biological pollution;
- chemical change of water composition;
- physical pollution.
Most of the nutrients enter the water through industrial sewage and sewage, and in groundwater - with rain and decomposition elements in places of food waste landfills. Special damage is caused by farms. For example, only one livestock breeding complex for fattening livestock with a population of up to 10,000 units gives the same amount of biogenic waste per year as a city with a population of one hundred thousand.
Organic and mineral fertilizers washed away by rain from fields are no less harmful. All this leads to accelerated enrichment of water with bioactive elements, and the first signs of eutrophication manifest themselves in the form of growth of blue-green algae and their rapid reproduction. After a while, the entire reservoir is filled with their flowering, which causes the burning of oxygen and the complete destruction of all life in it.
Such anthropogenic eutrophication is caused not by contamination with toxic waste, but by an increase in seemingly safe nutrients in the water, which causes the area to a state of ecological catastrophe with all the ensuing consequences: the destruction of flora and fauna, the increase in diseases among people like cholera, hepatitis and intestinal infections.
Types of chemical pollution
The greatest danger is caused by the contamination of water with lead, mercury, or salts of other heavy metals, which leads to the eutrophication of lakes and rivers, on the banks of which there are industrial enterprises. Oil and its derivatives cause no less harm. Pollution of the seas and oceans by them per year is estimated at 10 million tons, and today the total coverage area is 1/5 of the Earth’s water surface.
Important: 10 m2oil film on the surface of the water causes the death of not only living in the affected area of organisms, but also animals and birds living within it.
Another source causing eutrophication is nitrates and phosphates, 1 mg / l of which destroys plankton, and 5 mg / l leads to the freezing of fish.
Since the damage of water bodies by chemicals causes the inhibition of all natural biological processes in them,Such situations are also called environmental disasters, leading to the destruction of the environment.
Types of physical water pollution
Another way to influence water is to physically change its properties. Particularly strongly influenced by its composition hunting within water bodies. Scientists estimate that a million hunters who have made just one shot, release more than 30 tons of lead into the water, resulting in its eutrophication.
Not less harm is caused by heating of the surface of water bodies of waste water discharged into them from the combined heat and power plant. At the same time, its oxygen saturation gradually decreases, and instead the number of pathogens increases, which leads to the complete destruction of life in the zone of infection.
The consequences of the eutrophication of water bodies are the most deplorable. As a rule, their restoration requires a lot of effort and financial investments, as it includes not only water purification and reproduction of the former ecosystem in it, but also putting in order the entire territory adjacent to it. Only in highly developed countries there are special legal norms and money in the budget.
What to do?
To date, there are many ways to kill all life in the oceans, but there are only two ways to fix it:
- The destruction of algae plantations, which in turn, will lower the rate of dissolved oxygen in water.
- Elimination of the causes of eutrophication.
The implementation of these measures requires the adoption of relevant laws, the development of long-term programs and financial investments. If you do not do this today, then future generations of people will live in the world described by many science fiction writers.
Awareness of the magnitude of the ecological catastrophe and its consequences is the primary task of the governments of all countries on the planet. It is much more difficult to restore its primordial nature to nature than to destroy, therefore people who are an integral part of the Earth’s entire ecosystem should take full responsibility for what is happening in the world, and only then changes for the better are possible.