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Environ Monit Assess. 2011 Jan;172(1-4):493-505. doi: 10.1007/s10661-010-1349-z. Epub 2010 Feb 17.

Nitrogen and phosphorus budgets for the Yucatán littoral: An approach for groundwater management.

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  • 1Departament de Ecologia, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 645, 08028, Barcelona, Spain.


Human activities have altered the balance of ecosystems to the detriment of natural environments. Eutrophication is a serious risk in Yucatán, a state in the eastern peninsula of México where groundwater supplies the only freshwater to a karst shelf environment. While economic development in Yucatán is increasing, environmental awareness is lagging, and efficient waste treatment systems are lacking. To assess potential nitrogen and phosphorus inputs into the coastal zone of Yucatán, we analyzed government reports and the chemical composition of groundwater and aquaculture wastewater. Swine, poultry, and tourism are revealed as the main continental nutrient sources, while groundwater with high nitrate concentrations is the principal coastal nutrient source, a pattern similar to other river discharges around the world. This study demonstrates that environmental risk management practices must be implemented in the Yucatán region to protect groundwater quality.

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