Air pollution: nutrient enrichment

Eutrophication (also known as nutrient enrichment) is a result of large amounts of nutrients being released into a nutrient deficient water body which leads to excessive amounts of aquatic plant growth. Most often, the nutrient phosphorous has the greatest effect on eutrophication because it tends to be more limited within the environment. However, some environments are nitrogen deficient and more greatly influenced by changing levels of nitrogen.

Over time, this excessive plant growth can naturally turn a lake into a bog and eventually into land. However, eutrophication can be accelerated by the release of nutrients from human activities such as from fertilizers used in agriculture and at our homes. This rapid transition is not beneficial for the fish and other organisms which live in lakes who have to cope with depleted oxygen levels because of the decomposition of plants, as well as changing biodiversity and species abundance.

Relevant Links

Nutrients in the Canadian Environment: Reporting on the State of Canada's Environment

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