how does dairy farming cause water pollution
How Does Water Pollution Affect Rivers?Sediment Creating dairy farms means clearing large tracts of land. The resulting deforestation leads to looser soil because there are no trees to hold the soil in place. …Nutrients Nitrogen and phosphorus are two nutrients found in cow manure and urine. They also cause significant harm to rivers. …Bacteria Animal excrement is full of harmful bacteria that pollute rivers. …
Why are dairy farms bad for the environment?
Creating dairy farms means clearing large tracts of land. The resulting deforestation leads to looser soil because there are no trees to hold the soil in place. This sediment flows into rivers, often clogging them and making the water unfit for consumption.
How does the dairy industry pollute the water?
The dairy industry pollutes the water through milk spills. These spills may seem harmless, but they have severe consequences for the balance of marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on rivers and lakes as sources of drinking water. Milk spilled into large bodies of water propels the growth of bacteria.
Are factory farms polluting our water supply?
Although factory farms produce an enormous amount of waste and pollution, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, they are largely exempt from standard air and water pollution regulations. To get an idea of what sort of damage factory farms are causing to our water supply, check out these shocking facts.
How much of water pollution is caused by agriculture?
As a result of all of the above, 38 percent of water bodies in the European Union are under pressure from agricultural pollution. In the US, agriculture is the main source of pollution in rivers and streams, the second main source in wetlands and the third main source in lakes.
What Is Dairy Farming?
Dairy farming is the practice of breeding and raising cows to extract their milk and it almost always happens on an industrial scale. The conventional milk cow, the Holstein-Friesian, has been selectively bred to produce excessive amounts of milk. The U.K. average for milking cows is 20 liters a day when lactating, with the most productive individuals producing as much as 60 liters per day.
How Many Cows Live on Dairy Farms?
There are 270 million cows in the global dairy industry. The largest dairy-producing country is India, which has 56 million cows, followed by the EU at 23 million cows. This is compared to 10 million in North America, 12 million in China, and 6 million in Australia and New Zealand.
How Does Dairy Farming Cause Water Pollution?
There are three major components to dairy pollution present in waterways. They are:
How Can Water Pollution Be Controlled?
There are several ways to control water pollution from dairy farms. The most pressing is proper manure containment: making sure that manure is properly stored in tanks so that it cannot leach into the ground and using watertight plastics and clay waste liners to protect fecal lagoons from spilling.
Why are dairy cows lame?
Lameness is caused by bacterial infections in the hoof “such as hoof lesions, sole ulcers, laminitis, and digital dermatitis.”. As many as 50 percent of U.S. dairy cows are lame by the time they were slaughtered, and between 20 percent and 25 percent of dairy cows in the U.K. and the U.S. are lame at any given time.
Why is it important for a cow to be separated from her calf?
After the mother cow gives birth, the calf is forcibly removed from her. This is done so that the calf does not consume her milk. The cow-calf separation is traumatic for both parties as mothers and calves share a strong emotional bond for years in nature. The calf’s milk is then sold to humans in the form of milk, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and other popular dairy products.
How does the dairy industry affect the ecosystem?
The dairy industry is producing unsustainable amounts of untreated manure that seeps into the groundwater, threatening the livelihood of millions of people, eradicating entire ecosystems, and deepening the divide between the industry and its critics.
What Is the Dairy Industry?
The dairy industry selectively breeds and raises milk-producing animals like cows, buffaloes, and goats. The milk these animals produce is taken from them and sold to humans. On dairy farms, farmers repeatedly impregnate cows until their bodies break. At this point, the animals are of no use to the industry. They are usually sold, primarily to the meat and leather industry.
Does Milk Pollute Water?
The dairy industry pollutes the water through milk spills. These spills may seem harmless, but they have severe consequences for the balance of marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on river s and lakes as sources of drinking water. Milk spilled into large bodies of water propels the growth of bacteria. Large-scale milk spills can lead to the death of many aquatic animals and can render the water undrinkable.
How Does Dairy Farming Cause Water Pollution?
Department of Agriculture, there are about nine million dairy cows on farms in the U.S. today. Just like any other living being, they eat food and produce excrement . Each of these nine million cows also produces about more than 80 pounds (37 kilos) of waste every day.
Why Are Dairy Farmers Throwing Milk Away?
While the U.S. dairy industry has seen an increase in milk production, the per capita consumption of milk in the U.S. has seen a steady decline. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that in 2019, the per capita consumption of milk was just 141 pounds per person, down from 177 pounds in 2010.
Where Are Dairy Farmers Dumping Milk?
The New York Times reported that farmers in Wisconsin and Ohio often dump milk in lagoons and manure pits. In India, farmers dump milk on the roads. Milk is also dumped on idols as a religious gesture. Tankers are releasing milk into the fields, contaminating the soil. And elsewhere, milk is being emptied into industrial drains .
How Does Water Pollution Affect Rivers?
Rivers are being affected by milk pollution in three major ways. They are:
How Do Rivers Affect People’s Lives?
Having access to freshwater is essential for survival. Polluted rivers can end lives, both of humans and animals dependent on the river for their needs. Rivers are also a source of cultural identity and security for many people, including indigenous communities .
How much manure does a dairy produce?
According to the EPA, a 2,000-cow dairy generates more than 240,000 pounds of manure daily or nearly 90 million pounds a year. The USDA estimates that the manure from 200 milking cows produces as much nitrogen as sewage from a community of 5,000 to 10,000 people. This year and last, Wisconsin has fined several dairy operations for manure spills …
Why is Katherine Nadeau against the regulation change?
Lack of measures to prevent catastrophic manure spills is among the reasons Environmental Advocates of New York policy director Katherine Nadeau gives for her organization’s opposition to this regulation change. She cites a 2005 incident in which 3 million gallons of manure spilled from a New York dairy into a nearby river, killing thousands of fish.
What is the Wisconsin nitrate exemption?
Clean Wisconsin’s Wheeler calls the proposed nitrate discharge exemption “unprecedented.” The DNR explains that the exemption is based on background levels of nitrate present in groundwater coming onto the site from other sources, and that the permit will require groundwater monitoring and a “nutrient management plan” designed to control manure storage and how and when manure is spread on fields. The goal of such plans include preventing application of more nutrients than a farm’s soil can absorb and making sure it’s applied when it won’t easily run off, as in winter when the ground is frozen.
How much manure was sloughed into the Snohomish River?
In one of the larger cases of manure pollution in recent years, an estimated 15 million gallons of manure, water, and other matter spilled in 2010 into a slough that drains into the Snohomish River in Washington state, when a berm on a dairy farm’s manure lagoon failed.
Which cow produces more manure?
Milking cows, explains the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), produce more manure than beef cattle and the Holsteins that dominate the U.S. dairy industry produce almost twice as much manure as Jerseys. Cows that give more milk per cow also produce more manure and per-cow milk production has almost doubled since the 1970s.
What is the Wisconsin dairy slogan?
The slogan on Wisconsin’s license plate — “America’s Dairyland” — celebrates the state’s number one agricultural activity and iconic status as a milk and cheese producer. What it doesn’t reveal is how dramatically the dairy industry in Wisconsin and in other parts of the United States has been changing, or the environmental concerns those changes pose.
What are the problems caused by manure?
In excess, manure’s nutrients — largely nitrogen and phosphorus — can create problems. Too much in surface water can create algae blooms that result in hypoxic or oxygen-deprived dead zones According to the EPA, excess nutrients from agriculture, including chemical fertilizers and dairy manure, are a major source of water pollution across the US.
How much antibiotics are used in animal feed?
The NRDC also points out that nearly 80 percent of the nation’s antibiotics — or about 29 million pounds — is used for animal feed each year. Unabsorbed portions of those antibiotics are released through cattle urine and manure, and enter the surrounding ecosystem.
How many lagoons were flooded during Hurricane Floyd?
For instance, according to the NRDC, “When Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina in 1999, at least five manure lagoons burst and approximately 47 lagoons were completely flooded.”. This pushed the manure into nearby waterways, killing vegetation and animals in the area.
How many diseases can humans get from livestock waste?
Most of us are aware that livestock waste contains dangerous pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, but according to the NRDC, there are more than 40 diseases that humans can contract through contact with manure.
Where is George Monbiot?
George Monbiot, a journalist for the British publication, The Guardian, recently explored the River Culm in Devon, England. In a region billed as a “wildlife haven,” Monbiot found something quite different.
Is dairy farm pollution harmful?
Dairy farm pollution poses a health risk to humans. It’s not just England that’s suffering from dairy farm runoff and waste. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has published facts about American livestock farm pollution, and the data is sickening.
Do antibiotics cause bacteria?
Such widespread use of antibiotics in animals has been shown to contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The worst part is, these are just two health hazards posed by farms across the globe.
Who is Megan Winkler?
Megan Winkler is an author, historian, Neurosculpting® meditation coach, certified nutritional consultant and DIY diva. When she’s not writing or teaching a class, Megan can be found in the water, on a yoga mat, learning a new instrument or singing karaoke.
What Are the Sources of Water Pollution from Agriculture?
6 Livestock and poultry on the largest CAFOs generated 369 million tons of waste in 2012. 7 Animal waste is stored either in pits or in open ponds, called lagoons. Such waste-containment areas often leak and, during large storms, can rupture. 89 To dispose of the waste, CAFOs spray this manure onto farm fields. The environmental damage from spraying and from leaking, ruptured lagoons can be devastating. Surface and groundwater contamination (serious threats to aquatic ecosystems) and excessive nitrates in drinking water (serious threats to public health) stem from CAFO pollution. 10 11 Animal waste can also include pharmaceutical residues, heavy metals (like copper and zinc) and harmful bacteria , which can leach into water supplies. 121314
How to fight CAFOs?
Help the fight against water pollution from CAFOs by following and supporting national organizations like Food and Water Watch and Public Justice, which fight against policies that support CAFOs and facilitate water pollution from them. Support local organizations, like the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, which are conducting grassroots organizing around CAFO and other types of water pollution. Look for similar organizations in your area and support their fight. One example is Waterkeeper Alliance, which works to protect local and national waterways to ensure clean water for all.
What happens when fertilizer leaches into the groundwater?
The excess nutrients from fertilizer leech into surface and groundwater, causing algal blooms and nitrate contamination, impacting drinking water, recreational activities (such as swimming and boating), fishing/shell fishing and marine and aquatic ecology.
How many people rely on well water?
According to the EPA, 13 million households rely on private wells for drinking water. While public drinking water systems are regulated by the EPA, …
What are the two macronutrients in fertilizer?
Nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, are two of the main macronutrients in fertilizer that promote plant growth. Synthetic fertilizers containing both nitrogen and phosphorus are applied imprecisely to farm fields, often at rates far higher than what the plants need or what the soil can absorb.
How much nitrates are in groundwater?
35 In a survey of state nitrate groundwater pollution (indicated as greater than five mg/L), 53 percent of Delaware’s groundwater was polluted with greater than five mg/L of nitrates, as well as 28 percent of Maryland’s and 10 percent of California’s. 36 Each of these states have a large number of factory farm concentrations. 37
What are the effects of high levels of nutrient in water?
High levels of “nutrients,” such as phosphorus and nitrogen (both components of synthetic fertilizer as well as byproducts of animal waste) threaten the health and biological diversity of waterways, which can result in loss of aquatic life and their habitats, shellfish contamination and seasonal dead zones. 3 Polluted water also impacts the quality of life and incomes of nearby residents, posing a threat to public health. Beaches may close due to algal blooms, and fishing activities may be severely limited. Excessive nutrient runoff in waterways can impact drinking water supplies and, in some cases, cause severe health problems. 45
How can agriculture reduce water pollution?
In crop production, management measures for reducing the risk of water pollution due to organic and inorganic fertilizers and pesticides include limiting and optimizing the type, amount and timing of applications to crops.
How much has aquaculture grown?
Additionally, aquaculture has grown more than 20-fold since the 1980s, particularly in Asia. Total global aquatic animal production reached 167 million tonnes in 2014. Fish excreta and uneaten feeds from fed aquaculture diminish water quality. Increased production has combined with greater use of antibiotics, fungicides and anti-fouling agents, which may contribute to polluting downstream ecosystems.
How can we reduce pressure on aquatic ecosystems?
The best way of mitigating pressures on aquatic ecosystems is to avoid or limit the export of pollutants. Simple off-farm techniques, such as riparian buffer strips or constructed wetlands, can cost-effectively reduce loads entering surface water bodies.
What is the most common chemical contaminant in the world’s groundwater aquifers?
Nitrate from agriculture is now the most common chemical contaminant in the world’s groundwater aquifers. Aquatic ecosystems are affected by agricultural pollution; for example, eutrophication caused by the accumulation of nutrients in lakes and coastal waters impacts biodiversity and fisheries. Despite data gaps, 415 coastal areas have been identified experiencing eutrophication.
What are the risks of pollution?
This pollution poses demonstrated risks to aquatic ecosystems, human health and productive activities. For example, high levels of nitrates in water can cause “blue baby syndrome”, a potentially fatal illness in infants.
How effective are protection zones?
Establishing protection zones along surface watercourses, within farms and in buffer zones around farms, have been shown to be effective in reducing pollution migration to water bodies.
How many hectares of land are used for irrigation?
The area equipped for irrigation has more than doubled in recent decades, from 139 million hectares in 1961 to 320 million in 2012, transferring agricultural pollution to water bodies.