Almost 100,000 square miles of the world’s marine areas are classified as biologically dead. Areas so overloaded with pollutants, mainly fertilisers, sewage and industrial waste, that they have difficulty sustaining any life.
The world’s biggest aquatic “dead zone” is the Baltic Sea, in northern Europe, which being largely enclosed has struggled to wash out the pollution that flows into it from surrounding countries.
Scientists in the region are now testing out radical solutions to revive the sea and bring it back to life. One of the most far-reaching is the Baltic Deepwater Oxygenation project, which would involve pumping oxygen into the sea.
Sounds far fetched? It does to Professor Daniel Conley, from Lund University in Sweden. He calls it a “dangerous quick-fix” that may cause damage to the ecology of the sea. It would also end up costing millions of dollars to implement, money which would be far better spent on measures to reduce pollution flowing into the Baltic Sea, he says.
Regional environmental groups agree and fear "technological fixes" such as these could allow Baltic countries to ignore their responsibilities for tackling the cause of the growing "dead zone", namely the pollution.