The US state of Ohio is home to some beautiful inland lakes that attract millions of visitors every year. However, agricultural pollution runoff from fertilizers and manure is affecting both the environmental balance and the recreational appeal, as toxic algae has been found growing on popular destinations like Lake Erie and the Grand Lake St. Marys.
For the second consecutive year, state officials have had to post signs warning people and pets alike to avoid the visible surface algae that can cause gastrointestinal problems and skin irritation.
As a result, Grand Lake St. Marys in the western part of the state saw 50,000 fewer visitors this past year alone. A task force appointed by Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency determined that manure from livestock as well as agricultural applications of commercial fertilizers were the main source of pollutants that were catalyzing the algal growth.
These same substances are similarly affecting other countries. China’s state news agency recently reported that a gigantic floating mass of green algae covering some 200 square kilometers was headed towards Shandong province, posing a potential threat to wildlife and the region's tourism industry.
As in the United States, China’s State Oceanic Administration cites agricultural runoff as one of the major causes of pollution responsible for the algae.
Meanwhile, in Guatemala in 2009, the natural splendor of the breathtaking Lake Atitlan was struck by a deadly algal bloom that experts said was the result of pollution and climate change, which halved the number of visitors and devastated businesses.
In response, Guatemala’s government is taking measures including helping 80% of the farmers in the lake's watershed to convert to organic farming over the next three years.
Our sincere thanks to regional and national governments for responding to the environmental crisis as well as to farmers who are embracing the life-sustaining organic methods.
We look forward with hope to the restoration of the beauty and vibrancy of lakes and oceans as human adapt the organic, vegan lifestyle that eliminates such harmful pollution.
During an October 2009 videoconference in Germany, Supreme Master Ching Hai cautioned of animal agriculture’s role in these unnatural algae problems, urging for a comprehensive solution for the environment.