Tuesday June 25, 2019
Home Lead Story Near-Record &...

Near-Record ‘Dead Zone’ Predicted in Gulf of Mexico

The annual dead zone this summer will cover more than 20,000 square kilometers

0
//
Dead Zone, Gulf of mexico, US
Biofuels Unravel Efforts to Shrink Gulf Dead Zone. VOA

U.S. scientists say an area of oxygen-depleted water in the Gulf of Mexico, known as the “dead zone,” will reach a near-record size this season.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted Monday the annual zone this summer will cover more than 20,000 square kilometers, roughly the size of Slovenia.

They say that size, if borne out, would be the second-largest zone on record, just smaller than in 2017, when the dead zone reached 22,700 square kilometers, close to the size of Turkey.

A separate forecast Monday from scientists at Louisiana State University also predicted an unusually large dead zone.

Dead Zone, Gulf of mexico, US
U.S. scientists say an area of oxygen-depleted water in the Gulf of Mexico, known as the “dead zone,” will reach a near-record size this season. Pixabay

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone — one of the largest dead zones in the world — is at the bottom of the body of water.  A dead zone occurs when there is not enough oxygen to support marine life. It threatens all aquatic life in the water, and can deplete the numbers of fish, shrimp and crabs caught in the Gulf.

NOAA said in its news release Monday that the prediction for a large dead zone is because of an “abnormally high amount of spring rainfall in many parts of the Mississippi River watershed,” which led to high amounts of fertilizer downriver.

The fertilizers feed algae, which then die on the sea floor and use up oxygen as they decompose.

The size of the average Gulf dead zone is about 15,000 square kilometers. U.S. federal and state officials have previously pledged to reduce its size to less than 5,000 square kilometers.

Also Read- Ken Cuccinelli Named Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director

NOAA said its forecast assumes typical coastal weather conditions, but said the actual size of the dead zone could be affected by major wind events, including hurricanes and tropical storms, which bring more ocean waters into the Gulf. Official numbers on the size of the dead zone will be measured later in the summer.

Annual measurements of the dead zone began in 1985. There is another annual dead zone in the mid-Atlantic’s Chesapeake Bay. (VOA)

Next Story

Small Shops in US Often Sell Tobacco Without Checking Age

More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores

0
lung diseases
FILE - An anti-tobacco warning is seen on a road divider on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Nov. 4, 2016. VOA

Those buying tobacco from shops in the US, especially small stores, are usually not asked for identification hence it is easy for underage users to buy cigarettes there, says a study.

When researchers, aged 20 and 21, visited a variety of shops in the US, more than 60 per cent of cashiers did not ask them for identification.

In the study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, it was found that these young adults slipped by without an age check most often when they visited small stores, tobacco shops and shops plastered with tobacco ads.

“Our findings suggest that certain types of stores – tobacco shops, convenience stores and those with a lot of tobacco advertising – are more likely to sell tobacco to a young person without checking his or her ID,” said Megan Roberts, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University in the US.

tobacco
FILE – Cigarette packs are seen on shelves in a tobacco shop in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. VOA

“One implication of this finding is that enforcement may benefit from targeted outreach and monitoring at these locations,” she added.

The study included visits to a randomly sampled 103 tobacco retailers in 2017.

Also Read: Use of Oral Steroids Increases Risk of Infection in People with Inflammation

More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores.

“Having a minimum legal sales age for tobacco is important for reducing youth access to tobacco. Not only does it prevent young people from purchasing tobacco for themselves, but it prevents them from buying tobacco and distributing it to others, often younger peers,” Roberts said. (IANS)