Anoxic “dead zones” in oceans


  • Judith Jacobs


The number of oxygen-starved “dead zones” in the world's oceans and seas is rising, according to a report of the United Nations Environment Programme published 29 March—the result of excessive nutrients, mainly nitrogen, from the use of synthetic fertilizers in agriculture, as well as vehicle and factory air emissions. The issue is raised in UNEP's first ever Global Environment Outlook Year Book, which claims that there are now nearly 150 such zones in coastal areas around the world.

Some of the earliest recorded dead zones were in Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, the Baltic Sea, and the northern Adriatic. However, other newer zones have appeared off South America, China, Japan, southeastern Australia, and New Zealand.