More than 60 ships are being dispatched to ward off a green tide approaching the city of Qingdao, the Guardian reports. Officials in the Chinese coastal city hope an armada can save them from a looming onslaught of green algae.
The officials are attributing the bloom to high temperatures and an excess of nitrogen, a result of runoff from agriculture and fish farms. In the future, it is likely that coastal areas will increasingly battle algae blooms, which result from agricultural runoff and high temperatures.
Like the U.S. eastern seaboard, it's the hottest week of the year in northern China, where temperatures are higher than they have been in decades. The heat promotes algal growth. The same effect takes place in stagnant ponds, when algae forms a thin green film on the water's surface. But in this case, it's so dense that it can choke out life beneath the surface.
What's more, scientists say, it must be removed before it starts to decompose on beaches, where it will release noxious gases and impact the local ecosystem.
About 170 people were helping cart off the seaweed, known as enteromorpha, using a massive net and a dozen trucks. The Guardian says as of Wednesday, they had removed about 3,900 tons of the stuff.
Chinese state-run media says the algae covers an area of more than 150 square miles. It's not as bad as a similar outbreak in 2008, however -- that one threatened to ruin the sailing events at the Olympics.
On the bright side, the algae is being taken away for processing, possibly for use as fertilizer or animal feed.
Why hasnt someone invented some king of Nitrgen strainer for rivers and streams?
For point sources, like the fish hatcheries, you can simply starve the effluent of oxygen and the microbes will utilize nitrogen in its place. This will greatly reduce the nitrogen in the water.
For non-point sources, like farms, a few fairly simple calculations will tell you how much nitrogen will leach out of your field.
Similar steps can be taken for phosphorus, which is probably the second leading nutrient promoting algae growth.
China has a reputation for putting industrial growth over the environment. Though, it would probably be wiser to take these steps now to help continue their growth.
Haha - keep on polluting.
"The officials are attributing the bloom to high temperatures and an excess of nitrogen, a result of runoff from agriculture and fish farms. In the future, it is likely that coastal areas will increasingly battle algae blooms, which result from agricultural runoff and high temperatures. "
I think you should state the run off and high temps once more again.
Looks like an untapped resource to me.
If you can guarantee that the run-off is fairly free from more harmful kinds of pollution then it should be possible(but not necessarily economical) to impound the run-off and farm algae and the fish that live off them.
There are delicious fish that live on some combination of phytoplankton and zooplankton; all delicious fish are not carnivorous. You may have to pump oxygen into the pond to keep it from going anoxic and have various form of disease management and so on, but it shouldn't be impossible.
Gotta love the green revolution