Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Search

The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

When is Green not a Good Thing?

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, August 4, 2014/Categories: photography, sustainability, environment, Archive Pick of the Week

When is "green" not a good thing? Answer: When it is produced by toxic algae.

N-P-K are essential nutrients for plant growth. The minerals found in all plant foods are used for both your garden plants and to fertilize agricultural crops such as corn, soybeans, or canola as well. Volumes of unabsorbed fertilizer, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, drains off of ag lands into rivers where it becomes a major pollution issue. Externally created ecologically 'dead zones' result from algal blooms in ponds, lakes, and the oceans.

The latest bloom of toxic algae is occurring in Lake Erie and has shut down the drinking water supply of Toledo, Ohio.  Microcystins  from the algae have been detected in the city's water. The EPA says microcystins can "damage the liver if ingested while other symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness as well as irritated skin, eyes, and throat." Harmful Algal Blooms, or HAB's for short, produced Don't Drink the Water warnings. Just the sort of water you don't want to drink or or use to take a shower.


Lake Erie Algae Bloom, 7-31-14 (NOAA)


Toxic Algae Bloom, August 3, 2014  (credit: NOAA)

An ecological ' tipping point ' is reached when an ecosystem receives too much external pressure, like over-fertilization, that tips it beyond an ability to recover. The natural balance rapidly slips into a new status.

The immediate threat from the toxic algae in Lake Erie may dissipate but the external causes remain and will insure future blooms. "Green" pollution can be very ugly on many levels.

WHB
Print

Number of views (8656)/Comments (0)

Please login or register to post comments.

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x
Information is Beautiful Thursday, October 4, 20180

Information is Beautiful

'Big Data' visuals are beautiful and increase understanding.
A 21st Century 'Corps of Discovery' Wednesday, October 3, 20180

A 21st Century 'Corps of Discovery'

Citizen scientists exploring for exoplanets.

Juno as Monet Monday, October 1, 20180

Juno as Monet

Jupiter as an impressionist painting.

A 'Lost Crop' Could Change Africa Saturday, September 29, 20180

A 'Lost Crop' Could Change Africa

An African plan for a 'lost crop'.

Bennie the Beluga Wednesday, September 26, 20180

Bennie the Beluga

A rare whale visits London.

Krakatoa Awakens Monday, September 24, 20180

Krakatoa Awakens

Krakatoa is again active.

Pollution from Hurricane Florence Friday, September 21, 20180

Pollution from Hurricane Florence

Water pollution seen from space.

Europa Clipper Funded Wednesday, September 19, 20180

Europa Clipper Funded

A new 'voyage of discovery' is coming.

Global Fishing Watch Monday, September 17, 20180

Global Fishing Watch

Big data maps expose illegal fishing.

Origin of Life Mapping Sunday, September 16, 20180

Origin of Life Mapping

Trying to answering the question, how did life begin?

Hurricane Florence in 3D Friday, September 14, 20180

Hurricane Florence in 3D

Viewing a super-storm in 3D.

Eyes In The Sky Wednesday, September 12, 20180

Eyes In The Sky

Storm surge and rainfall totals increased.

Florence Approaches Monday, September 10, 20180

Florence Approaches

A super-storm is approaching.

JPL Receives An Emmy Sunday, September 9, 20180

JPL Receives An Emmy

JPL receives new award.

Hurricane Train Sunday, September 9, 20180

Hurricane Train

A "train wreck" could soon happen.

Mars 360 Friday, September 7, 20180

Mars 360

Curiosity's 360 Mars panorama.

Fashion Accessory Wednesday, September 5, 20180

Fashion Accessory

Lionfish as a fashion statement.

Rewilding Tuesday, September 4, 20180

Rewilding

A 'silent spring' could become a 'wild summer'