A recent article in “The Big Issue,” the most widely read weekly magazine in Scotland, UK, notes that infestations of cyanobacteria, also known as blue green algae, are occurring with ever greater frequency in both inland and ocean waters worldwide.
Authored by feature writer Adam Forrest, the article goes on to say that not only do such proliferations disturb ecosystems and promote the formation of dead zones, they are also harmful to humans and animals, with exposure that can cause vomiting, blistered skin and even death.
The spread of these algal blooms has been notably linked to agricultural runoff from fertilizers and livestock manure, which is then aggravated by climate-related temperature rise. Areas that have recently seen outbreaks include the Baltic Sea in Europe, Lake Erie in the USA, Lake Victoria in Africa and several lakes in China.
In the Baltic Sea, for example, record high temperatures this past summer led to an immense patch of the toxic algae that stretched from Finland to the south coast of Sweden. In Scotland, UK, the Environmental Protection Agency canceled at least two highly popular inland lake swimming events after cyanobacterial concentrations from the algae were found to be twice the level considered safe.
Of even greater concern is the threat posed by global warming as additional pollution along with continued rising temperatures could cause algae to overrun waters throughout the planet. Following a study by US scientists linking five past mass extinctions with toxic algae spread, environmental experts such as ecologist Russ George said that oxygen-deprived aquatic ecosystems could easily collapse.
We thank journalist Mr. Adam Forrest and “The Big Issue” in Scotland for calling attention to this danger. May humans everywhere strive to protect the planet through lifestyles that are sustainable and in harmony with nature.
During an October 2009 videoconference in Formosa (Taiwan), Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed such detrimental effects, while emphasizing the need to eliminate livestock-raising to reverse the effects and safeguard marine ecosystems.