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Agricultural Runoff and Pollution Consequences

written by: AlyssaAst•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 7/31/2009

The consequences of water pollution have been linked to agricultural runoff. Agricultural runoff and pollution can have serious effects on the environment and the health of many plants and animals.

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    Agricultural Runoff

    Agricultural Series By Chestnutt
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    The agriculture industry has been linked to causing environmental pollution of bodies of water. Many factors contribute to water pollution. The fertilizers and pesticides that are commonly used on fields and crops can cause the consequences of water pollution. Many of these factors that are found in fields and crops will eventually runoff into streams, lakes, or rivers causing pollution of the water.

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    Pollution from Pesticides

    Pesticides are a large contributor to water pollution caused by agricultural runoff. Agricultural runoff and pollution caused by pesticides can cause serious health complications. Polluted water can cause immediate health complications for animals after ingestions, even death can occur.

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    Pollution from Fertilizers

    Fertilizers are composed of animal waste. When fertilizers runoff into water, it can cause many benefits to the ecosystem. It can increase the nutrients in the water system and increase the growth of plant and animal life. However, this may not be so well for the ecosystem of the water. If too many plants begin to grow, the oxygen supply in the water can become depleted. Animals and plants living in the water can begin to die.

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    Pollution from Dirt

    The consequences of water pollution are also linked to the dirt that is emitted from the ground when fields are plowed. The dirt is emitted into the air and carried to water supplies. The sediments lay on the waters surface and later sink to the bottom. This can cause the life on the floor of the bodies of water to become suffocated. When this occurs it is called siltation. The water can also become very murky, making it increasingly difficult to sustain life.

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    Pollution of Vegetation

    Many bodies of water are surrounded by vegetation. The plants that grow around the water can absorb the harmful toxins from pesticides and fertilizers that are emitted from agricultural runoff. This can cause the vegetation to die. Vegetation can also be depleted from livestock consuming it. When there is not enough vegetation surrounding the water, pollutants are more likely to enter the water, and erode the banks of stream, rivers, and lakes. This is very harmful to the ecosystems in the water.

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    Agricultural runoff is very harmful to the environment. It can cause large decreases in populations of many plants and animals. Certain precautions can be taken to decrease the amount of agricultural runoff.

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    References:

    “Water Pollution: Agriculture” By Chris Kreger, November 10, 2004 Exploring the Environment

    “Agricultural Runoff” CWAC.net

    Photo: “Agricultural Series” By Chestnutt stock.xchng