“The universe is reflected in the sides of a grain of sand” stated William Blake and this stands absolutely true for the region defining the South Florida Everglades. It is a living example of how much destruction a hundred years of forced oppression can impose upon a region…
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Everglades or, a ‘river of grass’, as it was dubbed by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, is a vast expanse of freshwater marshes which extends from Lake Okeechobee South to the tip of Florida. However, continuous exploitation over the decades by the populace has polluted the everglades water and devastated the marshland. Since the 1950’s the urban development and agricultural production in the region flourished but at the cost of the everglades. Big scale attempts are being made to restore the region; the step being an example of the progress from exploitation of the natural resources, to a period of preservation, where the value of these extinguishing reserves were realized and most currently to efforts aimed at revival of the ecosystem (Dugger, n.d). Historically, the Everglades covered 4000 sq. miles in Florida but today it has been reduced to half its size. The marshlands form a section of a huge drainage basin, Lake Okeechobee which covers an area of 11,000 sq miles approximately. There are various forms of habitat that exist on the marshland- open water sloughs, cypress swamps, hard wood hammocks, mangrove swamps and pinelands. Moreover, the plants and animals species found in this region are unique and specialized to the region. However, the scenario started changing in the late 1980’s with the beginning of developments like creation of agricultural farms for growing sugarcane and vegetables, building up of new canals and levees for protecting the farms and the cities from floods, and increase in the infrastructure in the east of the everglades. ...
One of the biggest groups of sugarcane growers, the big sugar, is highly responsible for destroying the Everglades. Farmers of these agricultural farms use high content phosphorus fertilizers in excessive quantities, to improve the quality of their soil. The runoff water from these sugarcane farms carrying the killer phosphorus gets drained into the Everglades through canal-water discharge from Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades agricultural area. It was revealed that this overdose of nutrient resulted in the overgrowth of unwanted plant and algae species or eutrophication, which in turn caused great harm to the original vegetation of Everglades. Not only fertilizers but sewage and human wastes from these fields are being dumped into the marshlands thus polluting the water, making it unhygienic to drink, and the survival of flora and fauna impossible. The entire ecosystem of Florida is in peril because of the pollution (Orem, 2009). Moreover, U.S. factory farms too have contributed to the contamination of the Everglades. During rainy season or snow melting season, the runoff water from these farms, which grow animal feed crops, carry the top soil particles into the marshland. The 1.4 billion tones of animal manures generated on these farms are also let off through the canals into the marshlands, thus polluting the water. New regulations meant to improve the situation through proper treatment of the manure produced, cannot take effect before another 10 years. According to Environment Protection Agency (EPA), these chemicals are making the water unhygienic to drink which once used to serve as a fresh water source for the Miami Metropolitan area. People living in the surrounding areas
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“Sculpturing the Earth'S Surface. The Florida Everglades Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/physics/1442757-sculpturing-the-earths-surface-the-florida-everglades.
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