Besides its disgusting appearance, the blue-green algae represent a real health issue and risk for the environment. Last week, a couple from North Carolina found out that their three dogs died due to the exposure to the toxicity of this harmful plant.
Also known as cyanobacteria, this toxic alga has been present for millions of years. The health concerns arise as the planet’s temperature increases. Heavy concentrations of this plant pose a health risk to humans and animals.
According to Laliberte, the state of Wisconsin doesn’t have enough data so far to chart the ups and downs in concentrations. But there’s some evidence that you should be aware of.
Avoid getting into water if it looks unusual. The toxic substances can cause a severe rash, and ingesting it can lead to more serious health problems. Even tubing or water skiing can be risky, causing people to inhale small amounts of water that can make them sick.
Pick the clearest conditions, especially if you have a child or a pet. If your dogs unexpectedly, go swimming, wash them afterward. If the water is not good enough for you, it probably won’t be good for your pet. Some of the symptoms associated with the blue-green algae are stomach cramps, weakness, and vomiting.
The state Department of Health, DHS, explained that the toxic algae were possibly linked to the death of three cattle last year.
Results from 2019 enlist five illness complaints suspected to be related to blue-green algae. Fortunately, that was the case for just one of them. Back in 2018, there were 25 complaints, including 24 people and nine animals. Fifteen were probably related to the toxic algae.
Most waterways are populated with this kind of algae. If case of overconcentration, it becomes a real health threat.
Climate Warming Makes It Worse
Climate warming makes it more dangerous. The impact of global warming will lead to the blooming of the algae more intensely and in a much larger number in more bodies of water.
The consequences are already visible in Wisconsin. Combination of hot temperatures and rain mean more bloom since the algae spread faster in warm water.
To battle the blooms, the farmers are leading the initiative to save the health of the soil. Septic systems should be controlled more frequently to ensure they are working correctly, creating a natural buffer system at the shore.
NASA satellite images now control changes in the color of the water. The device called seaPRISM has been placed on wastewater monitoring stations in Green Bay since May. This way, the impact algae have on the bay water will be determined and kept in control more easily. Besides Green Bay, the other freshwater bodies that are part of this initiative are those in California and Florida.