Summer is not only a reason of joy for us, but also a cause of concern because Lake Erie is once again the victim of toxic blue-green algal bloom.
However, federal and state officials have already taken active measures to tackle this problem. In 2011, the toxicity of the algal bloom in Lake Erie was 50 times higher than the limit for safe body contact set by the World Health Organization.
Worse, based on the data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the levels were 1,200 times higher than the safe drinking water limit. Three years later, in 2014, Ohio and Toledo drinking water plants were closed because of the toxic algal blooms.
Then, in the summer of 2015, the bloom extended up to 300 square miles and it was registered as the largest toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie in 100 years. Fortunately, it did not reach the same toxicity as in 2011.
Lake Erie is the planet’s 12th largest lake and provides 11 million people with drinking water supplies. Furthermore, it is the shallowest and the smallest of the Great Lakes. The leading cause of the toxic algal blooms comes from the high level of phosphorus in the water.
Coming into contact with it can cause various symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, numbness, vomiting, and rashes. Dogs and children are especially vulnerable as they can even die if they get in contact with it or swallow some by mistake.
Worse, this toxic bloom does not just make the water undrinkable, but it also consumes high amounts of oxygen from the lake waters, thus creating dead zones where no fish or other creature can survive. The high level of phosphorus originates from manure runoff and agriculture fertilizer.
It means that one of the primary causes for this water plague is human excess and ignorance. Unfortunately, other toxic blooms are expected to become even more widespread because the warm weather. Phosphorus reduction or a sudden weather change can stop the spread of the toxic blue-green algae.
In addition to this, Canada and the United States have doubled their efforts to tackle this problem. Through their collaboration, the amount of phosphorus in Lake Erie will be reduced by 40 percent by 2025.
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