Tag Archives: Pollution

All the Way to the Ocean

By Nancy Weiner, Editor Southern Sierran

Designed as a children book, Joel Harper’s “All the Way to the Ocean,” illustrated by Marq Spusta, and foreword by Laird Hamilton, delivers a strong message to adults as well about protecting the ocean, keeping our sewers free from garbage, and also about friendship and teamwork. And it is through teamwork that Mr. Harper created this wonderful little book with Mr. Spusta’s colorful, expressive illustrations.

What strikes this reader first upon opening “All the Way to the Ocean,” is that it is ostensibly a labor of love.

9 Surprising Diseases You Can Catch at the Beach

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Whether we like it or not, our nation’s beaches are not as clean as we would prefer them to be. Ocean water contaminated with sewage, storm run-off and oil carries bacteria, parasites, and viruses, which can cause a variety of diseases. From Staph infections to earaches, hepatitis to skin rashes and respiratory issues, Americas waters are an environmental hot bed for infection. For the last five years, there have been 18,000 beaches closing across the United States. 2009 brought 18,682 days of closures and notices as a result of water contamination and pollution at beaches throughout the United States.

Following, nine surprising infections that are found in the nation’s oceans…

Read Full Article, Huffington Post

More about MRSA

NRDC’s Testing the Waters database
Check the status of your favorite beaches at the NRDC’s Testing the Waters database.

Center for Disease Control’s Healthy Swimming site

Exploring Algae as Fuel

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


In a laboratory where almost all the test tubes look green, the tools of modern biotechnology are being applied to lowly pond scum.

Foreign genes are being spliced into algae and native genes are being tweaked.

Different strains of algae are pitted against one another in survival-of-the-fittest contests in an effort to accelerate the evolution of fast-growing, hardy strains.

The goal is nothing less than to create superalgae, highly efficient at converting sunlight and carbon dioxide into lipids and oils that can be sent to a refinery and made into diesel or jet fuel…

Read Full Article, The New York Times.

The Second Life of Green Algae

Photo source: ©© Tristan Schmurr

The second life of green algae
English Translation

Harmful when covering the beaches, green algae can be valued. If the application on fields for fertilization purposes, remains the largest market, other sectors are growing.

No less than 60,000 m3 of green algae have been collected in Britain last year. It is a huge slap for the communities in charge of coastal cleanup, a terrible hindrance for the tourism industry, as tourists have fled the beaches. But what happens to these tons of plants once removed from the beaches? Several options exist to benefit from this invasive material.

An effective fertilizer
The spreading is the main outlet of Ulva lactuca and concerns 80% of the collected “green lettuce”. This technique involves depositing fresh seaweed, rich in nitrogen, on the agricultural parcels as fertilizer. It is effective and inexpensive as no prior treatment is required. The method has its limitations, however: the transfer from the beach to the land must be fast, to keep the algae’s freshness. For this very reason, the destination should not be too far from the pickup location. At La Lieue de Grève in, les Côtes d’Armor, “the trucks do not go beyond a 25 km radius” says Briant Gwenaëlle, coordinator of the local watershed.

The farmer using this type of fertilization is also required to sign an agreement to carefully monitor all added levels of nitrogen induced by algae, and to record these levels in order to respect the soil pH, said Gwenaëlle Briant. For the same reason, the same parcel may be fertilized with green algae only once every five years.

The other major outlet for Ulva is to be mixed with other green plants to produce compost. It is a more expensive solution as external service providers are necessary. Nevertheless, this solution is particularly popular in the late spring, when fertilization is not possible in the fields covered with crops. Composting green algae however, has the advantage of giving an economic value to a free commodity. And contrary to traditional fertilization, the compost can be used by everyone without constraints.

A difficult product to capitalize on
Interesting from a composition standpoint , however, algae are difficult to use at the industrial level, since their production is irregular and unpredictable. And many challenges exist in their treatements .
They must be treated within 3-4 days after reaching the beach to avoid rotting. They are hardly transportable since they contain so much water. Sand also must be removed after algae are picked up on the beach, a tricky process. But once reduced to flour consistency or cake, the ulva sees its value explode: 2000-3000 per ton.

Once “stabilized” green algae is eligible for a number of industrial processes. The green algae may be used in the manufacture of many products. Cosmetics, chemicals, materials such as cardboard or plastics, food for animals, even for humans.

Another possible avenue, is production of energy. “The process of methanation, in which the algae, in contact with bacteria, give off gas and thus produce energy, is already studied in Japan. The problem is that its performance is not great and it emits sulfur, corrosive to the facilities, “said Yannick Lerat. The production of bioethanol, a fuel made of green algae, is also the subject of several investigations in France. “For now, the yield is only 10 or 20%. It should be up to 50%, “notes the expert.

Investments remain limited in this area because “it is difficult to build an industry on a resource where eradication is ultimately sought after ” says Yannick Lerat. “We prefer to invest in preventive action, but a business model is beginning to emerge.” The key to success, however, relies on the coordination of actions by various local authorities, says he. “What is lacking is a supply chain organization. If everyone does things in his corner, it does not take off. ”

Original Article: “La deuxième vie des algues vertes” Le Figaro

China launches armada to head off algae plume; Guardian UK
Chinese authorities have dispatched a flotilla of more than 60 ships to head off a massive tide of algae that is approaching the coast of Qingdao.The outbreak is thought to be caused by high ocean temperatures and excess nitrogen runoff from agriculture and fish farms.

Forging a Coherent Oceans Policy

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


The White House on July 19th, announced that it was forming a new National Ocean Council to try to make sense of the dozens of laws and overlapping agencies governing policy on oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes. The new body, which will include 24 officials from various federal agencies, will not have the power to propose new laws or regulations. Rather it will set broad policy goals and try to referee between conflicting commercial and recreational uses of the nation’s aquatic resources.

Read Full Article, The New York Times.

After Gulf oil spill, Obama plans better use of oceans, CSM
Long after the last oil seeps from the BP spill, the eco-disaster in the Gulf is bound to change the way Americans take responsibility for the oceans. President Obama made a start July 19th, by ordering 22 agencies with ocean responsibilities to become better stewards of the marine environment.
In particular, he endorsed the idea of zoning the nation’s coastal seas and Great Lakes, or the roping off of areas for such diverse uses as sport fishing, oil drilling, shipping, and underwater parks.

White House-Council On Environmental Quality
The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force.

Stunningly High Levels of Toxins Found in Whales

Photo source: ©© Angieandsteeve


Sperm whales feeding even in the most remote reaches of Earth’s oceans have built up stunningly high levels of toxic and heavy metals, according to American scientists who say the findings spell danger not only for marine life but for the millions of humans who depend on seafood.

A report released Thursday noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. From polar areas to equatorial waters, the whales ingested pollutants that may have been produced by humans thousands of miles away, the researchers said…

Read Full Article; By Arthur Max, The Associated Press.

Hands Across The Sand

Photo source: ©© Syedasif


All across America, from St. Petersburg, Florida to Cannon Beach, Oregon, from Santa Cruz, California to Coney Island, New York, tens of thousands of people yesterday came together at ocean beaches and inland waterways to form a human barrier against offshore oil drilling in a nationwide protest called Hands Across the Sand.

But what started as a U.S. protest quickly went global. Hands Across the Sand drew people to 820 sites in 34 countries, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa…

Read Full Article: :World Joins “Hands Across the Sand” to Protest Offshore Oil Drilling; ThoughtCo.

A Line in the Sand Over Offshore Drilling, New York Times

Hands Across The Sand