Environmental Disasters : The 464 Mile Long River

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One of the world’s oldest rivers and also one of America’s most polluted, the Susquehanna River is facing an escalating environmental threat. The 464 mile long river runs through four states, eventually into the Chesapeake Bay and then the Atlantic Ocean and provides drinking water for over 6 million people. Pennsylvania contains much of the country’s most fertile farm lands and holds 21,000 of the 27,000 square miles of the river’s watershed area. The agriculture industry is the largest contributor to the pollution issue that has been steadily on the rise for the past decade. A major concern for environmental agencies is the aquatic life that is being affected by the toxins in the river. As scientists collect increasing amounts of data…show more content…
Phosphorus and nitrogen fuel algae blooms which consume vast amounts of oxygen in the water that lead to dead zones in the slow moving river, a process known as eutrophication. While these pollutants were on the decline in the 1980s, population growth in the area spurred an increase in agricultural practices that has since reversed the numbers. The developmental upsurge has greatly diminished the natural field and forest buffers and filters and replaced them with impenetrable concrete roads and surfaces that hasten the transport of pollutants to waterways. The aging infrastructure of decades old towns struggle to maintain the growing stresses being put on the sewage and pipeline systems by the expanses in population. Diminishing health conditions of the small mouth bass and catfish in the Susquehanna River has sparked a great deal of controversy among the citizens of Pennsylvania. In December 2014 The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission released a limit advisory for catfish consumption from the river; residents were encouraged not to consume more than one catfish per month due to the fatty fish’s ability to retain toxins for long periods of time. Smallmouth Bass have tested positive for cancerous tumors, parasites, reproductive issues, lesions and skin diseases. After this drastic move, the public outcry
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