One of the Great Lakes is Now Covered with Green Algae and It's Not Looking Good

Khryss | Published 2017-10-11 01:21

Literally and figuratively...

Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake (by surface area) of the five Great Lakes in North America. It is surrounded by Canada to the north, and New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio states to the south. However, as beautiful as this lake once was, it's now covered with thick, green algae blooms. Stretching for more than 1000 square meters-the phenomenon spells danger.

David Spangler, the vice president of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, even told the New York Times how it now looks like the water had a skin-like membrane on top so thick that you could write your name on it! Not to mention its musty smell.

Algae blooms like this has been happening more and more frequent and is increasing in size since the 2000s. According to the New York Times, this resulted from the increased use of fertilizers or agricultural lands nearby the lake. As rain falls, the fertilizer then travels from the land to the river, eventually ending up into the lake.

And with that, these blooms consequently happen every summer, affecting different lakes around the world. Recently, a lake in China was also reported to experience this phenomenon as a result of the global temperature rising and the increased use of fertilizers. Both of which is due to a greater agricultural need to feed people.

Cyanobacteria, which are part of the blooms, can produce a toxin called microcystins that seeps into local waterways and can damage local ecosystems. These microcystins can cause negative health effects such as liver damage in humans. But not all of these algae blooms are toxic.  So far, the algae blooms’ toxic levels have remained low and are closely being monitored.

But toxic or not, it is still hurting the lake’s recreational economy. People don’t want to go fishing or going to the beach because of the greenish hue of the lake and the smell of rotting algae.

Guess we all know the answer as to how we can alleviate this. Your move, humans.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/10/algae-bloom-lake-erie-toxins-spd/

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