23 April 2011

Milkweed flower (Photo: Bill Harding)

Some confused reports of poor water quality from Melkbosstrand (South Africa) – “may be due to high algae levels”. If they used an AlgaeTorch they would know immediately how high….! Why speculate when you can have an answer in minutes?  By the time they have sent a sample to Pretoria or whereever…

In Australia, the move towards P-free detergents has accelerated following the announcement by Aldi Supermarkets. “Laundry powders OMO, Surf and Drive will no longer contain phosphate, which has a higher greenhouse gas impact than other ingredients, Unilever announced today. Supermarkets Coles and Woolworths have also backed a plan to rid shelves of environmentally-damaging detergents, it emerged on Sunday.”  Hopefully we will get to this point in South Africa before too much more damage is done.

From Washington State (USA) “House Bill 1489, was sponsored by Rep. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, and supported by city officials. It restricts the sale and use of lawn fertilizers with phosphorus in an effort to reduce the amount of that chemical in the state’s lakes, streams and rivers, where it contributes to algae growth” was signed into law! Community involvement is being engendered through articles such as: ” Let’s try not to P on our lawns this year“.  Still some resistance from places like Manatee (Florida).  With a name like Manatee one would think they would be more attuned to protecting the environment.  China remains very concerned about phosphorus pollution.

From Greene County (Pennsylvania) came a boil-water order (OK, hope they know this won’t help for blue-green algal toxins?) and the important observation “The problem is that these facilities [wastewater treatment plants] are built to treat sewage, of course, and cannot remove these dangerous elements from the water that ends up back in the river from which we drink.” (see also here).

A rare CyanoAlert comes from Fulford Harbour in the Gulf Islands (B.C) – where there has been an algal bloom in Weston Lake.  Also one for Lake Hamilton in Australia (Victoria), where the lake has been closed until further notice.

In a useful article entitled  “Ruining the World’s Water Supply“, focussing on agricultural pollution,  the dangers of eutrophication are succinctly spelt out, “Agricultural run-offs containing fertilizers, animal wastes and pesticides are infecting rivers and water courses with blue-green algal blooms and toxic chemicals. While the problem is particularly evident in developing countries – Canada, Australia and the United States contain some of the world’s most polluted rivers, and poor agricultural practices are the root cause.”

Two warnings from the UK as their ‘warm’ season kicks off:  One for Killington Lake in Cumbria, as well as from the scenic Loch Lomond in Scotland (see also here).

Essential water quality monitoring programmes are always being targeted for budget cuts (see here).  This is often mainly due to one of two reasons:  The dimwits in charge don’t know how to set up a structured and targeted monitoring programme (so they just collect data to put in a file = administrative comfort) or they simply collect the wrong data (South Africa guilty on both scores).  The NEMP (National Eutrophication Monitoring Protocol) has collected YEARS of data, none of which has been constructively used or published.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *