A few months ago, we published a piece about a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. At face value, it isn’t anything new–it’s been happening every year for decades. What is new, however, is the predicted size of the dead zone this year. The NOAA did their yearly examination and came up with a staggering figure: an increase in size of 57%. While it’s long been known that it’s caused by agricultural runoff, the meat industry has come under fire this year.
The dead zone is already huge. On average, it’s about 5,000 square miles, which, for scale, is a little bit bigger than Connecticut. This year, it looks like it’ll be somewhere around 8,000 square miles. That’s bigger than Massachusetts, if we’re using states as measuring sticks.