In the past few decades, industrialization, population growth, and the heavy use of chemical fertilizers have doubled the amount of nitrogen in circulation, contributing to environmental problems worldwide and possibly human health problems like cancer and memory failure, reports the Baltimore Sun in a five-day series. Hardest hit are coastal bays and oceans — deadly algae blooms are cropping up from Finnish beaches to Hong Kong harbors, fish kills are occurring from Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay to Russia’s Black Sea, and coral reefs are in decline around the globe. With world population increasing and the growing preference for a North American-style meat-based diet — which requires heavy use of fertilizers to grow large amounts of animal feed — a solution to the problem of nitrogen pollution doesn’t appear to be in the offing.