Essay on Toxic Algae in Lake Erie

1319 Words Oct 15th, 2013 6 Pages
Toxic Algae in Lake Erie – There Appears to be More Questions Than Answers
A Review of “Huge toxic algae bloom expected for Lake Erie: Blue-green algae feeding off phosphorus from farm fertilizer that runs into lake”

INTRODUCTION Blue-green algae blooms continue to be a problem for the ecosystem of Lake Erie and Raj Bejankiwar, a scientist with the International Joint Commission, estimates that there is a 99% chance that algae will once again be an issue this summer. Blue-green algae remove the oxygen from the lake, which contributes to the deaths of other plant and animal life in the lake. Blue-green algae require phosphorus to survive and thrive, and phosphorus has become increasingly available due to the use of large amounts of
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Despite the strengths in the presentation of information and readability of the article, it left me wondering if there was more to the story than what was told. The article begins with implicating framer’s fertilizer as a major part of the cause of the algae blooms that starve the lake of oxygen. But perhaps we should not be so quick to entirely blame the farmers for the amount of phosphorus in Lake Erie. While the article mentions some common sources of phosphorus, the article does not elude to the complexity of the issue of phosphorus excess. Reading it, and watching the Essex video that is presented at the end of the article suggests a tone of simplicity, and easy fixes to a major problem. However, I am sure there are far deeper economical and environmental issues at the root of the phosphorus excess, and the solutions must keep these aspects in mind. Furthermore, before discussing solutions, an understanding of the problems the large amounts of algae are causing can provide insight into how to control these blooms. Are all algae toxic, and what does “toxic” actually mean? Although Raj Bejankiwar indicated there is a “99% chance” that there would be a large bloom this summer, there is no explanation to how this fact was investigated. The article provided minimal detail into why/how algae blooms are problematic and did

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