Nutrients Gone Wild
Worried about dipping your toe in your local swimming hole? Or even drinking your tap water? Join the club. Nitrogen and phosphorus overload is fouling up lakes, rivers, and streams across the country, creating plumes of pollution that are far more sinister than their deceptively benign algal blooms moniker.
These nutrient-rich blooms are a bust for health, environmental, and economic reasons alike. While ’tis true that N and P are critical for life on Earth, signs abound that we’ve got way too much of a good thing, from rampant beach closures and clogged water intakes, to urgent PSAs along the lines of, Don’t even think about drinking that water!
Talk about the “I” of the hurricane in water pollution. Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa are the top three contributors to the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, due to big-time nutrient pollution spilling off agricultural land.
We got the down-and-dirty on what’s going on—and what it’ll take to turn things around—in this recent round table with Joel Brammeier, executive director of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and Paul Botts, executive director of the Wetlands Initiative.
So go ahead, listen in like the OGT pro you are —>
*As part of our partnership with Chicago Public Media/Worldview, this content may also appear on the WBEZ website.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff” is a great mantra…except when you’re talking about plastic pollution. Devilishly tiny plastics, a.k.a. microplastics, are adding up to one massive problem in the world’s waterways – acting as a sponge for other pollutants, not to mention confusing and harming wildlife.
On this month’s EcoMyths/Worldview segment, we’ll find out how and why something so small can cause such a big fuss. We brought in Olga Lyandres, research manager for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and Allison Schutes, manager of the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program for a tete-a-tete with Jerome McDonnell and our own Kate Sackman.
Is Smaller Better When It Comes to Plastic Pollution?
Small plastic pollution is no game! Teeny weeny plastics are polluting even the cleanest-looking waters—and unsuspecting aquatic wildlife are accidentally gobbling them up. Question is, if the plastic is so tiny you can’t actually see it, does it really matter?
When you wash your face, the goal is to get yourself nice and clean—not slather your body in plastic. But, bizarre as it may sound, many exfoliating scrubs and other personal care products like soap and toothpaste are made with tiny plastic particles called microbeads.
And though they’re so small you might never even notice they’re there, their very smallness has become a big problem in our waterways, according to the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Olga Lyandres.