Farming is the leading cause of severe water pollution. And of all kinds of farming, dairy production causes the greatest number of serious incidents. “The world’s farmed animals produce around 130 times more waste than the entire human population. Approximately 150 gallons of water are required per cow, per day, to hydrate the animals, remove excrement from the floors of factory farms, and clean slaughter equipment. Once this water has been used, it contains too much animal waste, antibiotics, growth hormones and bacteria to be returned to the water treatment system. Instead, it must be stored in open-air lagoons that can be the size of several football fields. These lagoons often leak into the surrounding groundwater – and some farmers even drain them by spraying the polluted water onto neighboring lands – which can cause massive problems for drinking water supplies in the area.
Excess nitrogen and phosphate from animal manure has also been linked to the growth of algal blooms in nearby rivers and lakes. These blooms starve most forms of aquatic life in the waterway of oxygen, rendering it devoid of life. This pattern has been repeated on a larger scale in the Earth’s oceans. In 2014, the marine conservation group One World One Ocean estimated that there were approximately 405 dead zones in the oceans of our planet, all of which have been directly linked to chemical run-off from factory farms.”
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