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Prevention and reversal

Eutrophication poses a problem not only to ecosystems, but to humans as well.

Reducing eutrophication should be a key concern when considering future policy,
and a sustainable solution for everyone, including farmers and ranchers, seems
feasible. While eutrophication does pose problems, humans should be aware that
natural runoff (which causes algal blooms in the wild) is common in ecosystems
and thus it is not necessarily advisable to have a goal of reversing nutrient
concentrations beyond normal levels.
Cleanup measures have been mostly, but not completely, successful. Finnish
phosphorus removal measures started in the mid-1970s and have targeted rivers
and lakes polluted by industrial and municipal discharges. These efforts, which
involved removal of phosphorus, have had a 90 percent removal efficiency
(Raike et al. 2003). Still, some targeted point sources did not show a decrease in
runoff despite reduction efforts.
Minimizing nonpoint pollution: future work
Nonpoint pollution is the most difficult source of nutrients to manage. The
literature suggests, though, that when these sources are controlled,
eutrophication decreases. The following steps are recommended to minimize the
amount of pollution that can enter aquaticecosystems from ambiguous sources.
Riparian buffer zones
Studies show that intercepting non-point pollution between the source and
the water is a successful mean of prevention (Carpenter et al.1998). Riparian
buffer zones have been created near waterways in an attempt to filter pollutants;
sediment and nutrients are deposited here instead of in water. Creating buffer
zones near farms and roads is another possible way to prevent nutrients from
traveling too far. Still, studies have shown (Agnold 1997) that the effects
of atmospheric nitrogen pollution can reach far past the buffer zone. This
suggests that the most effective means of prevention is from the primary source.
Prevention policy
Laws regulating the discharge and treatment of sewage have led to dramatic
nutrient reductions to surrounding ecosystems (Smith et al.1999), but it is
generally agreed that a policy regulating agricultural use of fertilizer
and animal waste must be imposed. In Japan, the amount of nitrogen produced
by livestock is adequate to serve the fertilizer needs for the agriculture industry
(Kumazawa 2002). Thus, it is not unreasonable to legislate that livestock owners
clean up animal waste, which when left stagnant, will leach into groundwater.
Nitrogen testing and modeling
Soil Nitrogen Testing (N-Testing) is a technique that helps farmers optimize the
amount of fertilizer applied to crops. By testing fields with this method, farmers

saw a decrease in fertilizer application costs, a decrease in nitrogen lost to

surrounding sources, or both (Huang et al 2001). By testing the soil and
modeling the bare minimum amount of fertilizer needed, farmers reap economic
benefits while the environment remains clean.

eutrophication can be avoided by using mimimal required amounts of chemical

fertilizers or better still do away with them and use natural ones sure
not to have the fields close to the water bodies.take extra care while using
fertilzers during monsoons as due to run-off,they get transmitted to the water
bodies.then,they can cause blokage of waterways,death of marine life n
breakage of food chain.

The main solution for eutrophication is composting. Composting is a substitute

for fertilizers. Once you are done with your food you can put it out in your
backyard and that way it give your plants the right kind of nutrients. These
nutrients from food dont contain phosphates or nitrates that the algae feeds off
of. When broken down they do run off into the water sources, but dont create
the cycle of eutrophication.
If big manufacturers dont pollute the ground, then the toxins that are left behind
when the pollutants breaks down wont end up in the water. The nitrates and
phosphates that come from the waste is being left behind to feed the algae
bloom. Manufacturers should have a limit on how much pollutants they can
release into the water. Not only are they polluting the ground, but the air as well.
When the air becomes polluted, the rain is just as toxic. If companies cap their
discharge to a lower amont then the pollution will not fill the air and rain down
into our water sources.

Eutrophication: Prevention Methods

Having thought about the consequences of eutrophication, we might now
think 'do methods exist to prevent this?' Now the best way to reduce this
nutrient-load on water bodies would be to stop having agricultural areas and
settlements near them - obviously this is completely unfeasible and never going
to happen. However there are several measures that can be put in place to
maintain the health of our water bodies, without severely impacting our way of

Riparian Buffers: These are vegetated areas between a river and

adjacent areas of land use, and are a widely used method for removing
pollutants (like the excess nutrients in eutrophication) from agricultural
areas. This means less surface run-off meets a stream/river, leading to
less nutrients being deposited at their mouth (e.g. in a lake or sea), and
some prevention of eutrophication. Lee, Isenhart and Schultz (2003) found
a combined species buffer zone can remove between 80-97% of the
nitrogen and phosphorous run-off. However different species have been
found to contribute different rates of absorption to a buffer zone (Haycock
and Pinay, 1993). Older forests have also been shown to be much less
efficient at trapping N and P than younger forests (Mander et al., 1997).

A Riparian Buffer zone either side of a stream in Iowa.

Maintenance of river floodplains: Maintaining flat plains adjacent to rivers

can also help to reduce nutrient-load in mouth water bodies; as when the
river breaks its banks and floods, sediments and nutrients are deposited
on the plains either side of the river. Tockner et al., 2002, found of a riverfloodplain system in Switzerland that the floodplain served as a major sink
of phosphorus and suspended matter, and was never a source for organic
nutrients. However quantification of their use in preventing eutrophication
does vary; Tockner et al., 1999, found of a system in Austria that the
floodplain did serve as a sink for sediments and nitrates, but was actually
a source for dissolved organic carbon and algal biomass.

A river floodplain on the Isle of Wight.

Meandering: Having a wide and straight river causes the water to flow
faster, preventing sediments and nutrients from being deposited on the
banks and bottom, and reaching larger water bodies as nutrient-rich.
Introducing meanders to rivers slows the water flow, and causes more
nutrients to be deposited on the bends; reducing eutrophication in end
water bodies.

Meanders of the Rio Cauto in Cuba.

Divertion of waste pipes: A fairly obvious measure, sewage pipes that

offload into water bodies should be diverted away from areas in danger of
eutrophication. Alternatively,wastewater can be treated to reduce the
amount of nutrients carried into water bodies. This can dramatically
decrease incidences of eutrophication, as anthropogenic waste is one of
the widest known causes for destruction of lake ecosystems (Sreenivasan,


To prevent eutrophication, people must use cleaning agents and detergents that
are biodegradable and that do not contain phosphates. To further reduce the
amount of nutrients that are causing an overgrowth of algae in lakes and
streams, laws need to be created that regulate the dumping of waste water.
Farmers in areas that are affected by eutrophication need to find alternative
ways to fertilize and control pests. The chemicals and artificial ingredients in
pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers leach into the ground water. They then end
up in nearby ponds, lakes and streams. The overgrowth of algae destroys
recreational areas. It also causes unwanted mutations in some species of fish.