Monday 10th of December 2018

pollution and toxic blooms and water and fish and trouble..


In South Florida this summer, one ecological scourge has piled on top of another.

First came the red tide, a flotilla of microorganisms that dyed the sea rust and eventually stretched out along 100 miles of the Gulf Coast. Oxygen-starved fish, eels, dolphins and turtles littered beaches, in numbers too vast to count. In one marina, so many fish went belly up that they appeared to pave a walkway across the water.

The foul siege reached from Sarasota nearly to the tip of Florida by early June, when ecological insult No. 2 arrived. A green film of cyanobacteria appeared, as it regularly does in summer, in vast Lake Okeechobee. But this year the bacteria also spilled over into rivers and canals, which carried the toxic green sludge east to the Atlantic Ocean and west to the Gulf of Mexico. Already distressed Floridians gagged on the noxious odor, and more than a dozen people reportedly went to local emergency rooms after coming into contact with the contaminated water. Some wept as beloved manatees expired, bloated and tinted a ghastly green.


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Image at top: back page of Mad Magazine, December 1975...

we should not be clinging to straws any more...

Have you heard this statistic? Australians use an estimated 10 million plastic straws a day.

Maybe you read it on an environmental activist's site, in government information, or even here in an ABC news story. Maybe you saw it on the War on Waste.

So where does that estimate come from? This question was asked of us by a member of our Facebook group, I'm pretty sure that's not science... but what at first seemed like a simple fact-checking job became more complicated.

Despite searching our own archives and contacting numerous environmental groups, we couldn't find the original source for this number.

Attention-grabbing statistics can take on a life of their own, even when their sourcing is uncertain, said environmental consultant Peter Allan from Sustainable Resource Use.

"With figures like this, sometimes they gather momentum and no one knows where it originated and that's a real worry," he said.

But we all know that plastic straws are a problem. When people are wrenching them out of turtles' noses, should we care about exactly how many we throw away?


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