July 29, 2021

Florida scattered by red waves – but does the fertilizer plant leak make it worse? | Florida

Piles Dead fish, dolphins, turtles and manatees After hitting marine life in a catastrophic region known as the “red wave” moss flowers, they are rotting in a soup of reddish-brown seawater off the coast of coastal Florida.

The city council in St. Petersburg, Florida, called for a state of emergency last week, saying it needed the crew’s help to clean up the dead sea creatures off the coast. In the Phineas County area, more than 800 tons of dead fish and marine life have come ashore – the smell is already there Attacking cities.

Red waves occur in the region, but this year’s incident is so serious that some experts are surprised that it could have been so bad if there had been a pollution accident at a former fertilizer plant called Pine Point.

In March, a dam in a reservoir at a dysfunctional plant that stored phosphate sewage began to fail, prompting nearby residents to temporarily evacuate nearby on April 1st. Two days later, Florida Governor Ron Desantis declared a state of emergency. In an effort to prevent the reservoir from collapsing, the plant released 215 m gallons of polluted water into Tampa Bay.

Current algae Blooming In December 2020, it began its journey from the northern coast to the Tampa Bay area. The tropical storm Elsa also blew strong winds, which could cause fish to accumulate on the coast in very large and foul-smelling quantities.

Although the flowers were already there before the leak, the extra nutrients from the Pine Point leak created a layered environment that quickly deteriorated and increased the passion flower. Said Robert Weissberg, a professor at the University of South Florida Local news stations He believed that the Bini Point outings would trigger the same flower and make things worse. “I don’t think it would have gone as far as we see without Pine Point,” Weisberg explained.

Tom Fraser, now dean and professor at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, said during a discussion with DeSantis that nutrients from the pine point phosphate-plant site can help trigger an explosion.

“I do not think the red wave formed as a result of the pine point,” Fraser said during the discussion. Fish and Wildlife Research Institute In St. Petersburg. “One thing we initially saw with the red waves was that it was south of the discharge area, with the red wave constantly migrating or moving north towards the lower Tampa Bay.

“The nutrients in the system as a result of Fine Point, the recycled nutrients may have contributed to that. But there are plenty of sources of nutrients on the beach. Again, we tried to address those nutrient sources.”

Dead fish from the red waves were washed up in St. Petersburg’s waterfront park. Photo: Aerial Bader / A.P.

The red wave is more than the nature of a tiny plant-like organism. In the Gulf of Florida and Mexico, most red wave-causing species Karenia Provis. Red waves were recorded in this area off the coast of the Gulf of Florida in the 1700s and 1840s. It can cause respiratory problems for people, kill fish and other marine life, and cause shell poisoning in people.

Flowers usually begin in autumn and go away in January, but summer blooms in the region have occurred a few times in recent history: 1995, 2005 and, most recently, 2018. That year, long-lasting red wave flowers were killed by large marine life such as mandolins and dolphins, widespread health Had consequences and drove tourists off the coast.

St. Petersburg city officials say this year’s massacre is worse than 2018. “Tampa Bay is very bad now, really unusually bad. Conditions we have not seen in decades, ”said Justin Bloom, a member of the environmental groups Tampa Bay and Suncoast Waterkeeper.

This weekend, locals are worried about the red wave Will march Demands protection of waterways in St. Petersburg. They are asking the governor of Florida to declare a state of emergency and demand a plan to end phosphate mining in Florida.

“Failure to implement environmental protection policies and long-term climate denial have created the current catastrophe in Tampa Bay,” a statement from the protest organizers said. “The Tampa Bay community is demanding that our state leaders declare the current red wave crisis a state of emergency.”