in ecoTrain2 years ago

Author: @madridbg, through Power Point 2010, using public domain images.

Greetings again and welcome to all those readers who are passionate about content of environmental interest and who make life on the platform #hive. This issue is intended to socialize a topic of daily use for those of us who live in coastal areas or in areas close to industrial processes. In this sense, we are talking about the process of eutrophication as a mechanism that attempts against the environmental systems and against the water resources of these areas.

Information that we will share through the @ecotrain community who have been at the forefront of topics of interest associated with sustainability and environmental care.


The water system has become a crucial issue in the process of evolution of humanity, it is indispensable for the energetic, socioeconomic, agricultural and productive development, for which it is assumed as a necessary substance in the survival of the human beings. Likewise, at the level of nature this resource is indispensable to maintain the biodiversity of the species and is used as the bridge that allows the gearing between society and the environment.

Therefore, the issue of water pollution is brought to the fore by the alarming levels of contamination of the different sources of fresh water on the planet and even more so by the current levels of demand for this resource, which are the result of population growth, industrialization and overpopulation of urban areas.

Despite the abundance of this resource on the planet, only 2.58% is fresh water and we can find it in lakes and rivers, however, this amount is being threatened by an excessive increase in nutrients that tends to be associated with a load of pathogenic substances.

Therefore, through this publication we will address the process of eutrophication, which has become an environmental problem with repercussions on the planet's freshwater sources.

Fig. 2. The process of eutrophication eliminates the aesthetics and beauty of ecosystems. Author: Merry Christmas


Over the years, water systems have been affected, increasing the vulnerability of fresh water in lakes, estuaries or any other marine ecosystem, so measures have been taken to protect water resources.

Depending on the development of this research, we will focus on the approach to the process of eutrophication, understood as a natural process that marks the aging of lakes, the same is a slow phenomenon that does not depend on human activity [1].

However, this process can be catalyzed by the different activities that we develop as a society that are framed in the use of fertilizers in the soils, the industrialization of the areas, among others, where the residues are dragged by the rains and end up flowing into the fresh water bodies, increasing the levels of nutrients present in the water.

Fig. 3. Catalytic process according to the use of fertilizers and pesticides Author: @madridbg, through Power Point 2010.

Consequently and in the opinion of Barreto and Col (2013),
"Eutrophication is a process of deterioration of the quality of the water resource, it is originated by the enrichment of nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, conditioning the use of these and exerting great ecological, sanitary and economic impacts on a regional scale".

Therefore, it is assumed that there is an imbalance in the proliferation of the vegetable biomass of some algae, which when accumulated on the surface of the water, enter into decomposition and cause a decrease in the amounts of dissolved oxygen, which is fundamental for aquatic life.

Fig. 4. Appearance of lemna or green lentil on the surface of Lake Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela Author: Wilfredor


As mentioned in previous sections, the process of eutrophication is a natural process that can be accelerated by different external components, among which are

1. Use of fertilizers and pesticides at the agricultural level: the implementation of this type of substance seems to be isolated from the eutrophication process, however it is one of the main causes in the development of this phenomenon, since due to the rains and the runoffs that these produce, they originate a leaching of the soils where great part of the chemical substances arrive at the water sources.

2. Burning of fossil fuels: as it is well known, the use of material based on the burning of hydrocarbons produces considerable quantities of polluting substances such as carbon dioxide and nitrogenous gases. These last ones arrive again to the soil and the water because of the precipitations he in gresan in form of nutrient for the algae.

3. Discharge of industrial waste: This problem is common in both developed and developing countries and depends on the demands of society. Because of the evolutionary process of the same, we seek the necessary alternatives to meet the requirements that allow a better quality of life, without taking into account the damage we cause to the environment because of the manipulation of chemicals, whose waste ends up throwing to the water flows because we do not have special places that allow the decomposition of them.

Fig. 5. Appearance of lemna or green lentil on the surface of Lake Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela Author: Yogendra Singh

In addition to the external factors mentioned above, we must take into account those intrinsic factors that are related to the nature of water, so to speak.

Among these we can mention: the climate , since an increase in the temperature of the water favors the process of eutrophication, we must also take into account the depth, the accumulation of nutrients is favored when the waters are shallow, likewise the geology of the area, plays a preponderant role because in sedimentary zones there is a substantial contribution of minerals such as phosphorus that allow the accelerated growth of algae.

Among the main problems that can be mentioned because of the excessive presence of nutrients, the growth of potentially toxic or inedible algae species, growth of benthic and epiphytic algae biomass, excessive growth of aquatic macrophytes and decrease in the biomass of fish and molluscs. [2]

Fig. 6. Excessive growth of algae biomass, due to industrial discharges in the area. Author: Sandracarrascal

Likewise, an increase in the frequency of fish mortality, a reduction in the diversity of species, the disappearance of water transparency, as well as a decrease in dissolved oxygen levels is visible. Consequently, the imbalances caused by the bioavailability of resources cause the eutrophication process to be catalyzed, drastically reducing the extinction time of the water and consequently the disappearance of the species that live there.


As we could observe along these lines of writing, the process of eutrophication takes place naturally, therefore it is to be expected that the waters will deteriorate over the years. However, thanks to the action of man, the process has been catalyzed, which has generated an imbalance that threatens the aquatic systems and above all attacks the fresh water systems of our planet.

Similarly, this research allowed us to socialize and deepen on the aspects that must be taken into account if we want to mitigate the current situation in terms of discharge of pollutants that threaten aquatic species.


[1] Barreto, L. et al., 2013. Eutrophication in Brazilian rivers. Encyclopedia Biopedia, 9(16), p. 2179. Article: Online Access

[2] E.J. Olguín et al. (2007). Mangrove contamination by hydrocarbons and bioremediation, phytoremediation and restoration strategies. Int. Rev. Contam. Ambient. 23 (3) 139-154. Article: Online Access

[3] Ferrera-Cerrato et al. (2006). Soil and water bioremediation processes contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons and other organic compounds. Latin American Journal of Microbiology. Article: Online Access

[4] García F and Miranda V. Eutrophication, a threat to water resources. Article: Online Access

[5] Ome Barrera, Ó.; Zafra Mejía, C. (2018). Key factors in bioremediation processes for wastewater treatment. A review. Magazine U.D.C.A Actualidad & Divulgación Científica under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0 license. Article: Online Access


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