This post is part of KQED’s Do Now U project. Do Now U is a biweekly activity for students and the public to engage and respond to current issues using social media. Do Now U aims to build civic engagement and digital literacy for learners of all ages. This post was developed by Collin Grayless, Aryn Long Suiter, Mariah Rodriguez and Robert Jackson, students in James Speer’s “Introduction to Environmental Sciences” class at Indiana State University.

Featured Media Resource

Lake Erie’s Toxic Bloom Has Ohio Farmers on the Defensive
This report from 2014 discusses the pollution of Toledo, Ohio’s drinking water and steps that farmers have been taking to reduce fertilizer runoff into Lake Erie.

Do Now U

Should the U.S. government restrict fertilizer use to improve water quality? Why or why not? #DoNowUFertilizer

How to Do Now

To respond to the Do Now U, you can comment below or post your response on Twitter. Just be sure to include #DoNowUFertilizer and @KQEDedspace in your posts.

Learn More About Artificial Fertilizers

Fertilizers have been used in agriculture since the beginning of domestication when animal manure was used to enrich the organic matter in soils. In the modern day, farmers use artificially produced fertilizer such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to increase growth and yield of their plants. Fertilizers can provide a benefit, but they can also contaminate freshwater and damage an area’s ecosystems. Nitrogen is a key element in fertilizer and provides necessary nutrients that encourage plant growth and increase yields. However, high concentrations contaminate surface and groundwater supplies. Phosphorus is naturally found in mineral deposits, but overuse causes an imbalance and creates water pollution. These three elements are also responsible for eutrophication in bodies of water. This is a process in which excess nutrients cause rapid growth of algae. As a result, the water turns green and becomes cloudy. As the algae die and decompose, the water is depleted of oxygen for fish and other species. Because this is nonpoint source pollution, meaning that it comes from the broad landscape rather than an identifiable source like a pipe or smokestack, it is harder to keep track of and especially hard to regulate and reduce.  

Fertilizer provides the elements that the plants use in order to make them grow faster, better, and healthier. Fertilizers are merely nutrients applied to cultivated fields to increase required elements found naturally in the soil. The use of fertilizer has permitted farmers to continuously attain rich harvests on the same land for years, thus reducing the need for clearing new lands. If farmland is overused from growing too many crops year after year without a chance for the soil to lay fallow and rest, the soils can become depleted of nutrients. This would potentially require farmers to move to new areas, which could result in clearing a new area of land. In this case, this also would leave the prior cropland bare and exposed to erosion. Other benefits of fertilizers are that they can increase the aesthetics of yards, golf courses, and other landscaped areas by making them fuller and greener. Proponents of fertilizer use say that it is necessary for our agricultural system and should not be regulated because if farmers put too little fertilizer on their crops, their yields could be greatly reduced or they could lose their crops all together.

This illustration shows the amount of silt, mud and debris in Chesapeake Bay waterways before (right) and after (left) exceptionally heavy rainfall in 2011. Nutrients from fertilizers also runoff land in this manner.
This illustration shows the amount of silt, mud and debris in Chesapeake Bay waterways before (right) and after (left) exceptionally heavy rainfall in 2011. Nutrients from fertilizers also runoff land in this manner. (NOAA)

On the other hand, fertilizers are expensive and often over-applied. By using less of it on their crops, farmers could save money, which would be good for the ecosystem as well. Overuse of fertilizer results in eutrophication of local ponds and dead zones. Dead zones are low-oxygen areas in lakes and oceans where little life exists. There are more than 400 dead zones worldwide, equaling more than 94,000 square miles of ocean. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is roughly the size of New Jersey, and it continues to grow. Another harmful effect of the algal blooms due to fertilizer runoff is that the algae covers the surface of the water making it harder for sunlight to penetrate and reducing the ability of underwater plants to perform photosynthesis. A few species of algae are known to produce toxins that can kill fish, birds and mammals, which can potentially cause health problems for humans when we eat those animals. In addition, these toxins, as well as excess nutrients from fertilizers, can contaminate drinking water supplies. Proponents of government regulation of artificial fertilizer use say the damage outweighs the gains and rules are necessary to reduce the effects of pollution throughout the United States. There are also alternatives to using artificial fertilizers, such as returning to organic farming and even pursuing permaculture, which can produce high yields of edible foods on smaller areas of land.

What do you think? Are the benefits of using fertilizer on crops and landscapes worth the negative effects on ecosystems? Should the government restrict fertilizer use to improve the water quality of lakes and coastal areas?

More Resources

Audio: NPR
What Is Farm Runoff Doing To The Water? Scientists Wade In
Learn how scientists tested streams for pesticides and fertilizers, and to see how they may be affecting aquatic life.

Website: University of Vermont
Environmental Impacts of Lawn Fertilizer
Read how lawn fertilizer affects groundwater, our water supply and the environment.

Video: Piotr Sokolowski
Eutrophication Animation
Learn about the process of eutrophication with this short animation.

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Should the U.S. Government Restrict Fertilizer Use to Improve Water Quality? 14 July,2017SENCER

  • Kyle Robins

    I believe the benefits of fertilizer use are certainly worth the negative effects on the ecosystem. As stated in the article, farmers use fertilizer in order to maintain and continue to use the land that they have. Rather than harvesting land and clearing new places to farm, growers can use the same land year after year in order to keep producing good quality crop. With innovations in agriculture and engineering I believe that we will be create less harmful fertilizers while also being able to reduce the damage to water supplies. The solution is not to cut the use of fertilizers, but to improve the technology behind improving the substances and their outcomes. #MYCMSTARGS #DONOWUFERTILIZER

    • Kyle Robins

      Hello Kyle,
      Since no one has responded to your comment, I will take the liberty to further the discussion. I agree with what you have stated above. According to this article by Jeff Williams he states that advancements in fertilizer is one of the only methods for us to feed the entire world. We must invest more time and energy into improving it, rather than divesting away. #MYCMSTARGS #DONOWUFERTILIZER

    • Owen Smith

      I agree with a lot of what you are saying. While I think we need to look at all options available to cut back on environmental damages, the scenarios you listed are smart and adequate scenarios. Your suggestions are ones that I can agree with, and ones that seem as though they could become a possibility in the future. The one area where I disagree with you, is that I believe we need to look at ALL of our options that will reduce water and environmental damage, including possibly cutting the use of these dangerous products until they are improved. However, overall I agree with you and appreciate your propositions, as well as your ability to find a post to comment on.

    • Justis Haruo Kusumoto

      I disagree, as the negative impacts of fertilizer use on the environment far outweigh any economic benefit to farmers and society as a whole. While in the short term regulations on fertilizers may affect food markets, organic farming is already more profitable than farming that relies heavily on the use of fertilizers, according to the Washington Post So, not only are there little economic benefits to farmers, but organic farming has the potential for greater profits, and environmentally would be much safer and socially beneficial than large-scale use of fertilizers. It’s important to note in the KQED article that entire aquatic ecosystems have been turned into “dead zones” some spanning nearly the entire area of the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Owen Smith

    I believe, that while it plays a key role in one of America’s most important and dominant industries, fertilizer poses such a list of environmental woes that some sort of regulation needs to be put into place. This could be done through more intelligent farming processes, more healthy and natural fertilizer options, government enforced farming regulations, or through a variety of other courses of action. Agriculture plays such a key role in California’s and America’s economy that it is hard to try and limit it in any way. However, considering all of the damaging effects that uncontrolled fertilizer can produce (including unhealthy running water, dangerous pesticides, erosion, dead zones where rivers meet the ocean, improper light filtration within water, and a continuous list of other negatives) it is hard to deny that something must change. I’m not saying we should eliminate the use of the product, but smarter and more more regulated use must be employed. The damage it does to water quality, as well as wetlands and areas surrounding water sources, is a clear message that something has to change.

    • Trevor Ramsey

      I agree with your opinion that something must change in order to protect our aquatic systems. The above article states that modern day farmer’s use artificially produced fertilizers. Perhaps the “change” you refer too does not need to be something new. Instead, simply go back to more traditional farming practice that does not rely on artificial sources of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. While the site is a little hard to read, goes over the multiple forms of traditional farming methods that are able to reduce the possibility of groundwater contamination. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertlilizer

    • Mark Isberg

      I agree that fertilizers are Important to Crop yield and may not become completely obsolete, but the impact they have on the environment is completely unacceptable. Until environmentally safe fertilizers are created, I believe strict regulations are necessary, especially in areas close to water resources. #DoNowUFertilizer #MyCMSTArgs

  • Trevor Ramsey

    Fertilizers are very important in sustaining the growth of crops, however agricultural activates are the primary cause of water pollution. In Environmental Science: A Study of Interrelationships, co-authors Enger and Smith describe how the over use of fertilizers result in eutrophication in aquatic habitats. These “dead zones” can be prevented with the use of a conservation buffer that prevents the fertilizer surface runoff entering aquatic zones. Other organic farming methods like rotating crops, slash burn and enhancing organic matter would reduce possible groundwater contaminations while still producing substantial yields. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer @KQEDedspace

  • Justis Haruo Kusumoto

    Should the U.S. government restrict fertilizer use to improve water quality? Why or why not? #DoNowUFertilizer
    The US government should restrict fertilizer use to improve water quality, as there is ample scientific evidence and large scale examples of fertilizer use causing groundwater contamination, algae blooms in large bodies of water such as oceans and lakes, and organic farming is a clear alternative to fertilizer use. According to the University of Vermont, fertilizers often cause serious damage to ecosystems through surface runoff and contamination of groundwater, often threatening human populations. Considering that many regions rely off of groundwater reservoirs for their water supply, this also threatens humans on a large scale. Algae blooms are a second major justification for restrictions of fertilizers. As the KQED article points out, algae blooms can cause massive decay of aquatic ecosystems that lose oxygen and sunlight from algae blooms, some as large as the Gulf of Mexico.

    Organic farming is a major and already prevalent alternative to fertilizer use, so restricting fertilizer use would not cause a massive crisis in the food industry, or threaten our food supply in the long term. If anything, it would probably help because it would reduce contamination of water sources needed to sustain farmland and agriculture through the coming decades.

  • Mark Isberg

    I believe that the negative effects of on ecosystem far outweight the benefits of fertilizer for crop production, especially in areas in close proximity to water supply. Hypertrophication from fertilizer runoff is a huge detriment to marine plant and animal life. Allowing artificial fertilizer use to continue while environmental “dead zones” expand creating areas of underwater barren wasteland the size of small states is unacceptable. Fertilizer use must be regulated to protect aquatic life, and our water supply. #DoNowUFertilizer #MyCMSTArgs

  • charles5674

    To save water we need to reduce the use of fertilizer in the water. For this we request the government to take a step to stop this forever. I hope we find more better decision from here.

  • Ben Forbes

    I think that fertilizers need to be regulated because it can effect lakes that people swim in. if the lake is at the bottom of a hill near farm land the fertilizer will run off into the lake and cause bad things to happen to the wildlife in the lake as well as the people who swim in it being affected.
    #ENVI110 #DoNowU

  • Kyler Staley

    I do feel like the Government should restrict it because we need to save as much of water we possibly can.

    • Kyler Staley


  • Alex Oladimeji

    I believe that the US should reduce the use of fertilizer for better water quality. The water quality decreases significantly every day and it is effecting human health on a significant level. #Envi110

  • Dustin Follmer

    Even though fertilizer is an essential aspect of agriculture and farming, I think it is of extreme importance to limit the intake on how much can be used in one area. Water pollution is a major problem and with fresh water sources diminishing more and more daily, we should do all we can to preserve it. Outlawing fertilizers and pesticides would be too extreme of a measure in my opinion, but the level of intake per area should be limited. #envi110

  • Ashley Pugh

    I think that the discussion whether or not to use fertilizers is kind of open ended. The benefits they talked about are right on point along with the negatives. It is hard to go either or. The negatives that make it so hard to really back fertilizers include the algae and then the benefits that make it hard include the fact that farmers plants last longer and can just continue to regrow every year. #envi110

  • Nicole Griffin

    I think there should be some restrictions on where fertilizer should be used so we are not contaminating extra water. There could be a set number of farms on who can use fertilizer to prevent having more adverse affects on the environment than needed. I believe that the use of fertilizer is not worth the negative affects that happens to the environment and maybe it could be possible in the future to find another way to have crops flourish. #ENVI110

  • Ksmith122

    It seems the negatives from using fertilizer are not worth the risks and damage they cause. It’s a good idea to at least look into reducing use until a better alternative can be applied on a large scale. #ENVI110

  • Keegan Bowman

    I don’t think the government should restrict the fertilizer usage due to the amount of fertilizer we need for farming and producing food. #Envi110

  • Bailey Martin

    To save water and improve water quality I think there should be restrictions on the use of fertilizer. However, I don’t think that there will ever be an agreement with this. #ENVI110

  • Jimmy L.

    I believe we need to
    look at all of our options that will reduce environmental
    damage and water, including possibly cutting these ways until they are improved and 100% okay to use. #envi110

  • Kole Risner

    I think that there definitely be a restriction on fertilizer to improve the water quality so that environments outside of fields do not get harmed. It can possibly harm our drinking water as well as other species that it can affect.

  • Olivia Stewart

    I see both sides to these. I grew up with my grandfather being a farmer so I understand the importance of the fertilizer. However, learning more about the harmful affect I see why changes need to be made. I think it would be great to find an alternative way for the crops that would not be harmful to the water quality. I think if this is brought up and more people knew about it then there would be a bigger push to find an alternative way. #envi110

  • PrimeTime Pitts

    We should always be working towards
    reducing & saving water for reason of survival. If there is anything making a water supply worse then yes resrict it.
    – Deshaun Jackson

  • Dakota Short

    Fertilizers play a vital role to farming and I do believe that they should be used. But when it becomes a problem to the environment that’s when things get tricky. I feel like the government should be putting restricting the areas that these fertilizers are used. If they are bring used close to a water supply they shouldn’t be able to use them. #Envi110

  • Kayla

    I believe the government should place tighter restrictions on fertilizer use, especially because of the conditions our plaent are in. Nationwide, water quality is rapidly depleting and the restrictions could possibly drastically decrease this decline in quality. I believe clean water is more important than fruitful crop production. #ENVI110

  • Kellie Schlangen

    I like how this article expresses how important fertilizing is in the world. This article explains all of the negatives to not having correct fertilization. It is important to see how much of an impact something that we don’t often think about has. #envi110

  • Jason Sullivan

    I believe in order to save water quality we should definitely start restricting usage of fertilizer the way we are now, while it does have benefits in the agricultural industry it is simply not worth harming our water quality. #ENVI110 #DoNowYouFertilizer

  • luke kerstiens

    I feel like farmers should use fertilizers, but there should be a healthy amount for them to put on their fields. Don’t use to little fertilizers or you won’t produce a good crop that year of if the farmers use to much it will get to expansive. So there is a healthy mix in between there for the farmer to use. So that the farmer does spend to much money on fertilizers, and so that they do use to much to hurt the environment. #ENVI110

  • Sally Roberts

    I think that it is a good idea for fertilizer to be reduced. if it has a major negative effect something should be done to fix that.

  • Alicia Moss

    I personally believe the best route to take would be to limit fertilizer use. The safety of those ecosystems is far more important than producing a mass yield of crops, which only benefits humans rather than hundreds of species that may exist in those locations. Unfortunately, I find it hard to foresee any action taken by the government since farming is such a large industry and many individuals seem to value human lives over the well-being of the rest of the world.

    #DoNowUFertilizer #Envi110 #Envi 110

    • Nadine Salas

      I believe that organic farming can both aid in mass production of crops ( since agriculture is such a huge resources for the demand on consumption) as well as being sustainable. Organic farming uses organic fertilizers such as compost to achieve the same agricultural goals as synthetic fertilizers! #Mycmstargs

  • MaKaiya Betts

    I think the government should restrict it because it’s polluting the water really bad. This makes the fish in the water die much faster because of this. #ENVI110

  • Cora Kelsheimer

    I feel that this is a great article on how to improve water quality. #ENVI110

  • JustAnotherStupidKid

    As a girl who grew up with a dad that farms, I learned about how negative unnatural fertilizer can be. It really needs to be controlled to stop the pollution of water that a lot of people depend on for drinking, washing, and cleaning with. #envi110

  • Ariel Danielle

    I think we should use natural fertilizer. It does not have all the harmful ingredients in it like processed fertilizer does. If it is used, I agree that there should be more efforts to try and regulate it so it does not hurt the environment and protects aquatic life. #ENVI110

  • Ariana

    Fertilizer should not be banned, but regulated because it is just as important for the use of crops, as it is for water quality. #envi110

  • Caroline Heath

    I think we should no longer fertilizer for our crops. I belive that the negative effects to our environment out way the positive effects. There are other ways that we could help crops grow that wouldn’t damage our environment or drinking water.
    Caroline Heath #ENVI110 #DoNowUFertilizer

  • isaac sha

    #envi110 #donowufertilizer I believe that restricting fertilizer will harm field and grass by allowing pesticides hurt the greens that cover the earth.

  • Allysa Rangel

    It’s important to bring up topics like this one so that people realize what our man-made products are doing to kill the environment.

  • Corbin Settergren

    Yes the U.S. government should restrict fertilizer use to improve water quality. This is very important because our water quality is going down the drain, no pun intended. It is very important to keep a high water quality.

  • Marcus Taylor

    I believe that the government should definitely restrict fertilizer use to improve water quality. There are some advantages for using the fertilizer yes, but the negatives effects outweigh the positive effects of using this in the ecosystem. #ENVI110

  • Sasha Wagner

    I think the government should restrict the use of fertilizer. I think at this point there is enough research and evidence to support that argument that it is doing more harm to our water than what it is worth. As stated above, “Overuse of fertilizer results in eutrophication of local ponds and dead zones. Dead zones are low-oxygen areas in lakes and oceans where little life exists. There are more that 400 dead zones worldwide, equaling more than 94,000 square miles of ocean.” In my eyes this is unacceptable.


  • Aria Brinza

    I do think that fertilizer use should be reduced. However, I do not think it should be completely prohibited. Although fertilizer has negative effects on water quality, it has several other benefits on land. There are other ways to improve water quality so again, I do think the use of fertilizer should be reduced but not completely prohibited.
    #ENVI110 #DoNowUFertilizer

  • Terry Hooker

    Fertilizers shouldn’t be restricted, it needs to be used with precaution so that people don’t over use fertilizers and cause problems with the water.

  • Annie Gillum

    I think that the government should put a restriction on the usage of fertilizer so we can save our water. We want to have the best water quality that we can and fertilizer is not helping us. The benefits of using fertilizer is a lot less important than saving our water quality. #Envi110

  • Jimmy L.

    I believe we need to look at all of our options that will reduce environmental damage and water, including possibly cutting these ways until they are improved and 100% okay to use. #envi110

  • Soh Wah

    I think we have to do something about it because water is so important for everybody. Not only for farmers, but also people that live in the country. We have to look around and see what we have to do to fix it because it something that can hurt many things in this world. #envi110

  • Kamae Sutton

    I believe that the government should intervene in our communities and regulate the usage of fertilizers. These fertilizers not only gets into the air and damages crops, but they leak into our waters….causing our water to be of lesser quality. I truly believe that the beginning of water contamination is the beginning of the end #ENVI110

  • Skylar

    Since there is a chance of chemicals being used to make the fertilizer, then the use of fertilizer should be restricted to areas that are far from any water supply. #Envi110

  • Nadine Salas

    I think so, I understand that farmers have been making efforts to reduce their footprint in crop run off however the efforts have not ceased the negative effects produced by fertilizers. Fertilizers runoff into the soil and bodies of waters are producing large dead zones and contaminating drinking water for citizens, the nutrient compound of the fertilizers encourage rapid algae growth as well as water pollution. Farmers have been making efforts to reduce the negative effects however the fact still remains, and having to ban nearly half a million people from drinking their own tap water is a price that is unnecessary to pay ( as according to the Npr podcast) Unnecessary when measures such as organic farming is available, which replaces synthetic fertilizers with organic ones, such as compost and manure. According to the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations, organic farming is often used as a restorative measure of areas whom have a substantial amount of water pollution. #DoNowUFertilizer #MyCmstArgs

    • Stone Dennison

      Given all the facts of the situation.. Something needs to be put into place to protect the communities faced with these unfair conditions. Safe drinking water is recognized as a human right by the United nations, and it should be our government as well. Anything infringing on these basic human rights should be ceased immediately. The use of fertilizer safely should be allowed, but precautions should be implemented to prevent any further prolongation of current conditions. For more context.. #myCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

  • Stone Dennison

    If the chemicals have a possibility of causing damage: monetary or health wise.. I believe the government should have a regulatory agency look into the problem to help prevent pollution of any sort. If something can impact the health of a community, it should be regulated. Fertilizers are often over applied, we should work on creating a more economical way of use. There need be systems in place to cease contamination of any sorts. Our health is more important than the farmers making a couple extra dollars.. #myCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • gen

      Yes if they see that the water can be dangerous and it is due to the fertilizer they have every right to control what fertilizer is being used if any.

      • Nanci Contreras

        I agree, sustainable practices that focus on health and well being over economic profit is what we should be prioritizing #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • Kelsey Bridewell

      The problem is there are federal institutions in place that should be regulating fertilizer contamination. Unfortunately it’s so difficult to regulate because it doesn’t necessarily come from one specific source. These agencies can speculate where the contamination comes from but can never be too sure which makes federal action very difficult. The government needs to take stronger action, I agree. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • Seryna Valencia

      I agree. Far too often money or profit is put ahead of health and well being. The government is there to help “the people” so why haven’t they already done so? Leaving an area of environmentally impact as big as water pollution unregulated is just plane irresponsible.

  • Andrea Azevedo

    I believe that the government should be regulating the use of fertilizers more closely. While California does have some regulation on fertilizers, as you can see at this website, it’s just not enough. The chemicals that are in fertilizers are no joke and they are very very harmful to wildlife. Since it is so hard to pinpoint who is the cause of this source of pollution you can’t point a finger at one specific person. That’s what makes it so difficult. I believe fertilizers should be HIGHLY regulated and only used when absolutely needed. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

  • gen

    If there is something endangering the water that we drink and use on a daily basis I believe the government has every right to jump in and save the water from becoming poisonous. I think they have every right to start programs that they think are going to help and they can ban the use of fertilizer if they want and come up with another method of taking care of crops if they want to. I think keeping the water safe is more important and they can get rid of anything that can cause an issue.

    • Braden D

      By removing so many crops there would be a small collapse in the United States Ag industry. That would put tons of farmers and laborers out of work. I agree that a solution needs to be found but getting rid of all the farm land first is not a step in the right direction.

  • Kelsey Bridewell

    I believe we should stop the use of fertilizers close to water ecosystems. Fertilized areas that have the potential to run off into near by water ways need to be cut off. We cannot afford to damage our natural ecosystems anymore than the human race has already done. Most damage to water ways can be reversed over extensive treatments and long periods of time. Our Earth’s ecosystem as a whole doesn’t have enough time anymore. We as humans, who have caused the majority of Earth’s problems: global warming, overpopulation, resource depletion, etc., cannot sit back idly and watch our ecosystems continue to go to ruin anymore. We have to step up and make a change, I believe stopping the use of fertilizers is a great first step into our overall conquest to restore Earth’s habitats. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

  • Braden D

    The state of United State agriculture demands farmers to use some sort of fertilizer to be able to produce competitive yields. That being said most farmers are currently using chemical fertilizers which have a greater impact on the environment. By returning to only using organic fertilizers farmers in the longterm will produce better crops and also have a positive impact on the environment. There needs to be a shift in how much pressure is put on each farmer. They are making pennies on the dollar and by using chemical fertilizers they are only trying to help put food on the table for their families. Most farmers that choose to go organic are already wealthy so they can afford to lose a few dollars in their initial years. Rather than punish farmers for taking the more environmentally friendly but instead reward them.

    • Grace Gerberich

      Although I stated that the government should restrict fertilizer in order to improve our water quality, I highly agree that there needs to be a shift in the amount of pressure that society is putting on farmers. They are not the deciding factors in the fertilizers used, for such reasons that a large sum of them are just managing to get by. Good observation! #DoNowUFertilizer #MyCMSTArgs

      • Braden D

        Thanks Grace!!!!!

  • Grace Gerberich

    I believe that yes, the US government should restrict fertilizer use to improve our water quality. I am aware that farmers have been making efforts to lower crop run off. With that being said, these efforts have not put an end to the negative effects produced by fertilizers. Fertilizers cause such an issue because their runoff into the soil and waters are bringing about dead zones. This is contaminating our drinking water, as well as the nutrient compound of the fertilizers encourage rapid algae growth. If we have to ban almost half a million people from drinking tap water, we are going to face far more issues. That would be unnecessary when measures such as organic farming is available, which replaces synthetic fertilizers with organic fertilizers. #DoNowUFertilizer #MyCMSTArgs

    • Melanie Funk

      We’re not just harming ourselves, we’re harming other living creatures on our planet and we need to be aware of those consequences as well. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Juan Benitez

      I completely agree in that we need to start making farmers use more organic fertilizers. Not only would it be healthier for us and the environment but it would still get the job done. Along with still providing us with clean water and a healthier place. #DoNowUFertilizer #MyCMSTArgs

  • Melanie Funk

    The need for clean water should definitely trump the use of fertilizer. Especially since farmers are over using this stuff that is hurting clean water for all of the organisms living in it. Also, like the article points out, the stuff in fertilizer is found naturally in the soil, farmers just want things to grow faster and bigger and better. It’s also taking clean water away from us. Let’s take a look at Flint, for example. For those of you unaware, the city of Flint hasn’t had clean water in way too long. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of it has to do with lack of government interference. But if farmers weren’t polluting water, maybe cities like Flint would have an easier time accessing clean water. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Robert Gomez

    I believe that the US government should have some restrictions with fertilizer use. Im not saying to completely take it away from farmers because fertilizers are very beneficial for farmers to use. The thing is even if it is the best thing ever to use for a farmer if it is hurting water quality then there should be some actions taken. Farmers should be able to use fertilizers to enrich their land’s soil so that they can grow crops and wont have to move to new land, but they should not abuse the fertilizer because it will help them grow crops. They should have a restriction so that they use just enough to keep their lands soil healthy. With this then farmer can still produce crops and they can benefit by saving money on spending fertilizer. With this our surrounding waters wont be getting as effected and could possibly start to get to a good drinking quality once again. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • Yasmin Gonzalez

      I agree because even if we don’t completely limit the use of fertilizer it would still reduce the amount of pollution in our waters which is very important for human health. Yes, the use of fertilizer produces more food and products for us but without clean water none of that matters. We can give up those foods but we can’t give up clean water. Also using chemical fertilizers won’t only contaminate our waters but contaminate our foods due to toxins that come along with it. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • Celeste Villegas

      I agree because fertilizers can help farmers crop, but to much of it can endanger our water sources. If the government puts on a regulation this could reduce polluted waters, while still keeping the farmers happy. We must also be aware that with less fertilizer means less food, the population is continuously growing and this could become an issue. There needs to be a balance. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

  • Yasmin Gonzalez

    Clean water is essential for our survival and we have recently been suffering from water shortages and droughts in some areas. I understand that limiting the use of fertilizers would come along with some implications for farmers and our production of crops overall but i don’t think that outweighs our need for clean water. I think that crops and food our in abundance and even if we have to cut some out of our diet because of production loss due to limits in fertilizer we can survive without it but we can’t survive with clean water. Also, all these chemicals that farmers have been recently using result in toxins in our produce that can lead to health problems so i think the use of extra things in agriculture overall is a good thing. using these fertilizers can be harmful to species living in water and ultimately harmful for humans. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • Amardeep Atwal

      I agree. Farmers do need fertilizers and should be allowed to use them but it should still be regulated. This way we can guarantee that our water does not get contaminated. I also agree with you when you say that it would be worth it even if we ended up producing less produce through the use of less fertilizer. This may harm the farmers that do not make a lot of profit as it is but that could be handled through subsidies. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

  • Juan Benitez

    If the chemicals being used at hand can cause damage to our waters. Then the government should have a regulatory look into the problem to help prevent pollution of any sort. If something can impact our health then it should be regulated. There needs to be systems in place to prevent contamination of any sorts. #myCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

  • Amardeep Atwal

    While fertilizers play an integral role in our Ag industry, they should be regulated if they are causing harm to their surroundings. It’s better to take a hit now and fix the problem than to not do anything and wait till it gets bigger. These deadzones continue to grow and pop up in new places all the time. They need to be looked at and reined in before they get too big. I also don’t think it’s worth destroying the ecosystem just so that we may get more crop yield. Having said that, I do not think we should completely ban fertilizers since they will always have a role to play in Agriculture. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • Zoe Atava

      I agree that this is something that we need to act on now until it gets worse. Our surroundings are suffering and I agree that we need to control this situation. Also fertilizers are not necessary to the production of agriculture and ultimately, we can eat organically and be healthy because of it. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

  • Zoe Atava

    I believe that fertilizers should not be used on our produce. I come from a background and history of family who eat organic and non processed foods. I don’t think that fertilizers are necessary and the cause harm to not only our environment, but ourselves as well. If we can eat produce without the need for artificial fertilizers thats damaging our environment, why wouldn’t they? Especially in the climate that were in now with Trump not recognizing the critical state of our climate, Its important to preserve what we can. It is not worth destroying livestock and the environment and balance of nature. This article sows the dangers of fertilizers. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • Christiana Manzanares

      I agree with you Zoe! Since fertilizers are not necessary and is only harming our environment they should be regulated and not be used. Clean water should be out priority and the government and the people need to preserve what we can to help our future generations. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • Nyle Khouja

      A solution could be that family’s start growing their own vegetables at home, cutting the consumption restricting farming. But it comes down to opportunity cost for the farmers, so a restriction would need to be made. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer @2ndheartmom

  • Nanci Contreras

    There are both benefits and costs to using Fertilizers. The best compromise is to allow for the use of them but under strict regulation and law enforcement. Our biggest concern should be maintaining a high level of sustainability because if we don’t enforce sustainable practices now, what may seem like a small problem can easily turn big and if neglected long enough, the effects of our damaging practices could potentially be irreversible. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFertilizer

    • Nanci Contreras

      #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

  • Xavier Alarcon

    There are certain products that can reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and that is where a sound government policy could be useful. Phosphorus run-off could be greatly reduced by the use of certain natural products that free blocked phosphorus from the clay particles in the soil. This way you substantially reduce the use of chemical P fertilizers and at the same time reduce water pollution and algae bloom.

  • Fernando Hernandez

    The U.S government in my opinion will not reduce or care for the damage that fertilizers have done to water quality, due to selfish interest in money. They implement unnatural fertilizers which only hurt our ecosystem. Natural fertilizers, such as animal manure was used for countless decades. These big companies only see it as an opportunity for a bigger revenue, rather than the health of our planet which sustains humans. Profit over problems. we can see the extend of damage from fertilizer run off and dead zones all around the world. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer @laczkoWord#KQEDedspace

    • Janette Estrada

      Its so sad how the government runs of money and how they will go out there way to come with any tweak that could bring them better revenue. It is true when you state “Profit over problems” reason being that maybe government does not care after all and are willing to risk the lives of others for their own benefit. #DoNowUFertilizer #MyCMSTArgs

  • Christiana Manzanares

    I think the U.S government should restrict fertilizer to improve water quality. I think that the government needs to be more concerned about our environment and what we are doing to it. We often are not thinking of our future generations and what we are doing to them and our environment. However, in politics more of the time it is about money. Whatever is the most “profitable” is what concerns big business’s and politicians the most. They do not think of the effects it will have on people. Fertilizers are not necessary and we do not need to use them for our crops. Clean water should be our priority and preserving our clean water. We are running out of our resources and not being considerate to the planet. #DoNowUFertilizer #MyCMSTArgs

  • Nyle Khouja

    I believe that the U.S government should only restrict fertilizer use if they gather opinions from farmers, and how this will affect them. Jumping to cut fertilizer use could affect California’s growth output, and we export a lot of food to other countries who rely on our growing capability’s. Unfortunately, due to its size we arrive at the current situation. Its comparable to the over fishing of the oceans, if the demand is there the supply will follow. As time goes on science might solve this problem. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer @2ndheartmom.

  • Janette Estrada

    I believe the government should absolutely restrict fertilizer to improve water supply. The government needs to be concerned about not just the water supply but about our natural environment in general. If we continue to use fertilizer it will cause a pollution in the water that will make the creation of fungus in water. However, i’d like to believe that the government works off of money. What the government fails to acknowledge is that these fertilizers that farmers use to grow their crops can directly effect the health of people who consume what they think is a fresh vegetable. Water needs to be treated at a treasure being that it supplies our surrounds with life. If we look deeper in the situation, fertilizer is not even needed to grow crop. My mom is huge on organic foods so it would be sad to know that even the foods we consume could be potentially harms by deadly chemicals found in fertilizer. #DoNowUFertilizer #MyCMSTArgs

  • Celeste Villegas

    The U.S government should put some type of restriction on fertilizer, to help improve the water supply. They should not completely eliminate all use of fertilizer, because this could cause farmers to lose profits or yield less food; which is bad for both of us. Only 2% of the U.S population are farmers, and they feed millions of U.S. The only way to cut off all fertilizer use id if more people became farmers and I don’t think that is going to happen. Not to mention that with less food being produced, the price would go up. I don’t know if consumers would want to pay the increased prices or buy their own farm. There also needs to be more research, to find safer alternatives; we need to be considerate of both the farmers and people. There needs to be a balance in which both consumers and farmers are happy. #MyCmstArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

    • Gerald Peters

      Fertilizer in high concentrations used for farming, is a highly regulated substance already, however, the farmer, once they jump through the hoops to attain the fertilizer, is usually free to apply it as freely as they want, which is where i believe improvements can be made. #myCMSTArgs

  • j tech46

    I think fertilizers do need to be regulated. On one hand, it’s true that fertilizers help farmers to produce enough food to keep up with the enormous demand. However, we could still probably produce enough without it for ourselves. On the other hand (more importantly), it appears to have some very serious consequences for the environment. We should reduce using fertilizer if it’s going to potentially cause dead zones in our lakes and oceans. I don’t necessarily think we need to stop using them altogether though.

    #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUFertilizer

  • Gerald Peters

    Fertilizers are already a regulated substance in most states, however, fertilizer management plans, while not common yet, are becoming more so, in order to avoid fines from state and federal government. While these kinds of inputs are a must in ag, they can definitely be used more efficiently, and stop the pollution of our water. #myCMSTArgs

  • Erika

    The U.S. government should restrict fertilizer use to improve water quality because if they do, there can be a less chance that the water will get contaminated.

  • Maribel Enriquez

    The US government should restrict fertilizer use to improve water quality because It does more harm than it does good. Fertilizer does a lot of harm to the lakes. It got to the point where the water in the lake didn’t look like water. It was disgusting green thick water. People use the lakes to go have fun but when the water is full of algae it makes it really hard to have a fun time. You can’t go fishing and you can’t swim in a lake full of algae. It is very important for the government to step up and do something about it because the farmers aren’t going to give in easily.

  • Ashley Swiggart

    I believe that fertilizer should be restricted by the government and how much is being used. The reason being is because fertilizer contains phosphorus and that is what is causing the algae in the lakes, also it also causes dead zones around local ponds which is an area that has low oxygen. These are the most important reasons as to why fertilizer should be regulated because it is affecting the ecosystem and that affects us.

  • Monica Estrada

    I think that we should use fertilizer but to an extant, just because it does help our plants. By using to much can be dangerous and contaminate things. I think it’s beneficial because in one of the article it says,”Is used to enrich to organic matters in soil.”.This supports my arguments because it’s stating what it does and what farmers use it for.

  • Dante Cloy

    I believe that the U.S. Government shouldn’t restrict fertilizer Use to improve water quality. I think that because in the article it states that “Fertilizer provides the elements that the plants use in order to make them grow faster, better, and healthier.” These supporting details supporting my argument are important because I believe Fertilizers can provide a benefit to fertilizers that are merely nutrients applied to cultivated fields to increase required elements found naturally in the soil.

  • Cimmaron Ruiz

    I believe that the U.S. government should Restrict Fertilizer Use To improve water quality. The fertilizer contaminates freshwater and can ruin an area’s ecosystem. Also, it makes the lake waters green and cloudy of Algae. That then means the algae die and decompose, the water is depleted of oxygen for fish and other species. Another harmful effect of the algal blooms due to fertilizer runoff is that the algae covers the surface of the water making it harder for sunlight to penetrate and reducing the ability of underwater plants to perform photosynthesis.

  • Alan Ensaldo

    The US Government should restrict fertilizer to improve the water. The need to put restrictions because the water will be affecting everybody else, the people were banned for using tap water for to days. They details are important because it shows that risks dont only go to the farmers, they need to put other people into consideration.

  • Jenisha Joshua

    The U.S. Government should not have stricter ways to use fertilizer to improve water quality. Not only is it the fertilizer, it could be the live stock and sewage. The farmers know what they are doing and they know what to use and how much to use so it is not just them. Also since this is looked at as a big issue, some of the components will fix themselves to human error will be all that’s left.

  • Marvella Diaz

    I believe we should restrict fertilizer to improve our water quality. The lake is filled with algae which is affecting many people around it. People couldn’t even use their tap water since there was too much algae. The lake was pretty much made up of algae since the algae was consuming the water leaving the lake to look like green pudgy. Although fertilizer is very helpful towards our plants, out health is on the line due to this much algae.

  • Erika Segura

    I think that the U.S. government should regulate fertilizer because the cons outweigh the pros for this issue. Fertilizer causes rapid growth of algae in bodies of water and this algae can kill fish, birds, and other mammals. Fertilizers produce pollution and contaminate freshwater. Farmers could actually loose crops from using too much fertilizer so instead of helping their plants, they are damaging them. Fertilizer is like steroids for plants because it makes them grow fast and fuller but it is damaging the soil by making it depleted of nutrients.

  • Daniela Benitez

    The U.S Government should restrict the use of fertilizer so our water quality could improve. The use of fertilizer affects all of our health and animal life. Using fertilizer makes the water in lakes to grow algae I know people would want to go out and be able to enjoy passing time at a lake without algae in the water. Not only that, but it also cost too much. All of these things should not be happening just because we are using fertilizers and also when there are other alternatives.

  • Ariana Orozco

    I agree that the U.S. government should restrict fertilizer because it makes the water not look like water anymore. In the article nearly half a million people were banned from using tap water in Ohio. It’s just the beginning of what can happen if changes don’t happen.

  • Viviana Valencia

    I am on the con side because it is affecting our water. It is affecting people and livestock because the water is not clean. The water is turning green and cloudy and isn’t safe to use. Nearly half a million people in Ohio couldn’t use or drink their tap water.

  • Jared Hoffart

    I think that the government should not restrict fertilizer usage. Fertilizer isn’t the only factor leading to the pollution that Lake Erie is seeing today. NPR News states, “There is growing concern that the algae are feeding off of other sources, too, such as runoff from livestock and sewage.” With that being said, the government would be wise to just focus on the runoff into the lake. Perhaps placing concrete structures or diverting runoff to other areas will greater reduce the pollution than just attacking one source. If we really want to protect Lake Erie banning fertilizer is not the answer.

  • Alex Kendrick

    The government should not regulated the farmers use of fertilizers. The fertilizers that farmers use run off into the lakes and open waters and causes algae build up. This will causes the water source to be contaminated and the people are not about to use tap water from that water source. This also makes it a problems with the community because it’s taking the open waters away from the people so they can’t swim or enjoy the water.

  • Nate Trefault

    I do not believe that not using fertilizer will save the Toledo residents of unusable tap water. This is because other sources of contamination are also causing the algae infested lake. Even with farmers using less fertilizer the lake remains the same. Farmers should be able to fertilize the crops how they please.

  • Mike Ruiz

    I think the government should restrict fertilizer from these farms because the farms could grow the crops without the fertilizer. If the government restricts it will benefit the farms because they will be saving money. I also think that the fertilizer is destroying our environment. It is killing fish because it taking away the oxygen from the water. It also could kill humans because if a human eats some of the fish in that contaminated water.

  • Scyhler Sihapanya

    I believe the government shouldn’t need to restrict fertilizer use. Fertilizer runoff is not the only problem causing algae growth. Things like livestock runoff and sewage are also causing these problems. Though farmers should try to limit the amount that they use. Farmers wouldn’t be able to get as much out of their crops, meaning people wouldn’t be able to get the food they would’ve been able to get.

  • ARamirez404554

    The U.S. government should restrict fertilizer use to improve water quality. Fertilizer is often overused, causing more runoff into bodies of water. Because of the elements used in artificial fertilizers, working together, these cause algae’s quick growth in water, making water unsanitary to drink and unsanitary for life. I feel that these supporting details are important to my argument because while fertilizer is helpful in growing crops, there are alternatives, or people could simply use less of it. This would be accomplished by the government restriction. Furthermore, fish and more are also food sources that diminish because of fertilizer. Water is also needed to live, but if it is not healthy to drink, then we would quickly run out of water and/or lose our health.

  • Crystal Beltran

    I think that the farmers should regulate the amount of fertilizers they use, the amount of fertilizers they are using are causing problems in the environment. If they regulate the amount of fertilizer they use, it could benefit the farmer because they end up using less and it can save them money. The overuse of fertilizer causes Eutrophication, making the algae in the water grow at a rapid pace, this then leads to the water becoming green and cloudy. If the water is green and cloudy, this doesn’t allow sunlight to penetrate through. This leads to some of the underwater plants unable to perform photosynthesis, with plants unable to perform photosynthesis it ends up killing them off. Therefore, fertilizers are killing off underwater ecosystems, if they regulated the amount of fertilizer they used it could benefit both the farmers and the environment.

  • Erica Zaragoza

    I think the U.S government should restrict fertilizer being used to better our water quality because yes the fertilizer helps plants grow healthier but fertilizer is doing more harm to us and the animals than anything. The over-usage of fertilizer is what adds onto the unhealthiness of this product. If fertilizer was restricted, we would see a big difference to our water supplies.

  • Enrique Perez

    I think the government should control the fertilizer farmers use, but not drastically lower the limit. Fertilizer is not the only cause of the algae in the water. In the text it said that the algae is feeding off livestock and sewage.

  • Daniel Mancio

    I say that the united states should get rid of use of fertilizer and figure out another way to make the plants grow faster. Considering we are in a drought we need as much clean water as we can. The contaminated water can kill other animals.

  • Aileen Lopez

    The fertilizer problem affecting our natural water resources need to stop. The government needs to regulate the laws on those who do use fertilizer to help their crops. Although, fertilizer helps increase the yield and growth of crops, fertilizers are very expensive and are often over applied, leading to the pollution into our water supply. Like in lake Erie, there is excess amounts of algae that blocks the sun rays from reaching the bottom and letting the plants form correctly. The algae also can release toxins and derive the water from necessary oxygen. The fertilization needs to be some sort of regulations and who can use fertilizer and how much can be used to stop the pollution in our waters.

  • Isaiah Linan

    I think the government should restrict fertilizer from these farms because the farms could grow the crops without the fertilizer. If the government restricts it will benefit the farms because they will be saving money. I also think that the fertilizer is destroying our environment. It is killing fish because it taking away the oxygen from the water. It also could kill humans because if a human eats some of the fish in that contaminated water.

  • Megan Hang

    I think the government shouldn’t have control on the restrict fertilizer. I think that because if they restrict the access to the resources that farmers need. But fertilizers are what helps and gives the plants nutrients and it makes the plant grow much healthier. I also think that fertilizers tend to go for because it what helps the plants grow much better.

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