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Red tides and algae blooms are problems that threatens the marine life, economy and environment of Florida. Some of the solutions that have been proposed in the past need to be re-evaluated. Red tide and algae blooms are a complex problem caused by climate change and the large amounts of nutrient pollutions discharged into coastal water. This report will review some of the solutions that have been proposed and will offer new, innovative solutions that should be considered. Finally, the report will recommend the best option to solve red tide problems around the Florida beaches.
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Killing the Red Tide Cells
Over decades, many scientists and government have tried to eliminate red tide in Florida water. In the 1950s, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and State of Florida scientists used copper sulfate to attempt to eliminate red tide in coastal Florida waters (Weisberg). Although the copper sulfate killed some of the red tide cells and eliminated the harmful algae, it created more problems in the ocean. According to National Pesticide Information Center, many researches found that copper is highly toxic to fish and aquatic life, especially trout, koi and juvenile fish of several species. Fortunately, people stopped using copper sulfate to kill the red tide cells since there are more negative effects in the ocean.
No Fertilizer During Rainy Season
Red tide occurs longer and is more severe when there is more nutrition in the water. Using Fertilizer and grass clippings cause uncontrolled algae blooms. Manatee County has started to ban fertilizer from June 1 through September 30 or at anytime of year the National Weather Service forecasts heavy rains to occur within 24 hours (Atkinson). However, there are many other factors that add pollution to the ocean, such as leaky septic tanks and aging sewage infrastructure, and stormwater (Dias & Parker). Moreover, it is hard to keep an eye on individuals since there is no way to check who uses what kind of fertilizer during the summertime. Some individuals don’t even know this rule exist.
The governments have not been responding effectively to the problem of red tide. Unfortunately, Congress allowed the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017 (S.1057) to expire in September 2018 when the worse red tide in history happened (Beachapedia.org). There has been a failure at all levels of government to take action to protect clean water for safe recreation, wildlife and prosperous beach tourism economies. Politicians can take action to limit the growth of red tides by encouraging scientific breakthroughs, improving coordination among governments, researchers, and businesses, and tightening fertilizer ordinances (Vermont Journal of Environmental Law). Government should regulate the more rules to prevent the pollution into the water.
New Technology to prevent Red Tides
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are better ways to remove harmful algae and its toxins from large scale samples. The team of scientists patented technology, which reverts large amount of toxic seawater to safe conditions within 24 hours, could be used to purify water in impacted canals, coves, and inlets, saving lives. An “ozone-treatment system” filtered out the toxic form the water and them return purified water back into the affected body of water. However, this system is new that it will take time to establish to use to remove red tide. Moreover, the research doesn’t mention how much it would cost to purify the water in the ocean and freshwater.
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Many researchers stated that there is no simple solution to prevent and eliminate red tides. The best solution to prevent and control the red tide event is to regulate better laws throughout the states. The legal system in Florida should be involved to prevent red tide by developing stricter fertilizer regulations, support scientific solution, and encouraging coordination of mitigation activity across governments (Vermont Journal of Environmental Law). Since red tide is a complicated problem, there should be restricted rules from individuals to companies. The great example of this rule would be the Manatee county rule that ban fertilizer during rainy season. This rule should be spread across the country.
In 1950s, copper sulfate was used to kill red tide cells but there is more toxin from the chemical and harmful to all sea creatures. Luckily, this chemical is stopped using to kill red tide cells. Recently, the scientist developed better technology to purify the polluted water. However, this technology is too new to see how it affects the red tide events. The government should be more involved in making this problem better.
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