Category Archives: Inform

The Second Life of Green Algae

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

Excerpts;

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.

When sand mining starts, wildlife disappears, Selangor, Malaysia


Photograph: © Denis Delestrac

Excerpts;

A sand mining controversy is piling pressure.

Malaysia’s mainstream media, whose journalists were taken to the site, has been giving prominent coverage in the past few days to what it says is an impending environmental disaster in Selangor caused by illegal sand mining.

Reports say that Paya Indah Wetlands, a 3,100ha eco-tourism park located 50km south of Kuala Lumpur, is being destroyed by the clearing and excavation of some 120ha of land nearby.

A large sand mine is reportedly located just 50m from two lakes in the park.

Although local villagers said the lorries and excavators turned up only two weeks ago, environmentalists were quick to decry the effect all this could have on the park.

Paya Indah Wetlands has 14 lakes and is home to hippos, crocodiles and more than 200 species of birds including local and migratory, , 14 species of fish, more than 63 species of wildlife, and more than 200 species of plants.

The park attracted some 24,000 visitors last year and some 11,800 people in the first six months of this year.

This is not the first time that the sand mining issue has hit the Pakatan government hard.

Read Full Article: “A mine of controversy,” The New Straits Times Press, Malaysia

Wetlands exposed and vulnerable; The New Straits Times Press
The Malaysian Nature Society inspected sand-mining activities next to the Paya Indah Wetlands July 12th and found dredging work there “to be too close for comfort”. (MNS).
Its head of communications, Andrew Sebastian, who inspected the sand mining site on July 12th, said he found there is no proper buffer to protect the Paya Indah Wetlands from sand mining activities nearby, leaving the wetlands “exposed and vulnerable. He said mining activities posed a threat to the wetlands, and while a buffer zone existed, it would make no difference even if it were extended to 1,000m.

When mining starts, wildlife disappears; WildSingapore
Take care of nature and she will take care of you, goes the adage which rings true especially when it comes to eco-tourism, write Sean Augustin and Evangeline Majawat.A win-win situation for the environment and the economy can be found in eco-tourism.

Malaysia Nature Society wants Government to stop sand mining; The Star
The Malaysia Nature Society wants federal authorities to intervene and stop rampant over-mining of sand in Selangor…

Photos tell different stories about sand berm effort to block oil spill

sand-berm-louisiana
Sand berms, Louisiana. Photo source: ©© Louisiana GOHSEP

Excerpts;

Critics and supporters of building sand berms to shield Louisiana’s coast from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have released dueling photo sequences that alternately show one of the berms washing away or performing precisely as planned, depending on the eye of the beholder…

Read Full Article, The Times-Picayune

A Sand Trap in the Gulf; By Robert Young, in The New York Times


Dredging, Sand Berm Construction in Coastal Louisiana. Photo source: ©© Louisiana GOHSEP

Excerpts;

Of the many cleanup solutions being pursued in the Gulf of Mexico, few are as ambitious as Louisiana’s berm project. The Army Corps of Engineers recently authorized the state to construct some 45 miles of artificial berms in an effort to protect Mississippi River Delta wetlands and barrier islands from the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon leak, with BP promising to pay the state $360 million for the entire project. Many more miles may be authorized in the coming weeks…

Robert Young is a professor of coastal geology and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University.

Image Source: AP, Dave Martin.

Read Full Article; By Robert Young, The New York Times.

A 500 million euros Plan to strengthen levees in France


Seawall, Courseulles-sur-mer, Basse Normandie. Photo source: ©© Olivier Engel

Un plan de 500 millions d’euros pour consolider les digues en France.

By Bertrand d’Armagnac, Le Monde.

Quatre mois et demi après la catastrophe provoquée par la tempête Xynthia en Vendée et en Charente-Maritime, le Gouvernement a annoncé ce mardi 13 juillet, la mise en place d’un “plan digues” destiné à mieux répondre aux risques de crues et d’inondations en France.

Présenté ce mardi en Conseil des ministres par le ministre du Développement durable, Jean-Louis Borloo, ce plan prévoit le renforcement de 1200 kilomètres de digues fluviales et maritimes.

Sur la période 2011-2016, l’Etat souhaite mobiliser environ 500 millions d’euros afin d’aider au confortement de 1 200 km de digues sur un parc de près de 9 000 km. Le plan, dont la mise en place est prévue dès 2010, fera l’objet, dans les mois à venir, d’une concertation visant à l’enrichir et à le préciser. Il reprend notamment des pistes lancées lors des auditions devant le Parlement, sur les causes de la tempête Xynthia.

Read Original Article, Le Monde


A plan of 500 million euros to strengthen the levees in France.
Google English Translation

Four and a half months after the disaster caused by storm Xynthia in the Vendée and Charente-Maritime, the French Government presented Tuesday, July 13, in Council of Ministers, proposals for the development of a “Plan Digues” intended to better respond to flood risk and flooding in France.

Over the period 2011-2016, the State wants to raise about 500 million euros to aid in reinforcement of 1,200 km of sea walls and levees, on a fleet of nearly 9000 km. The plan, whose implementation is planned from 2010, will be in the coming months, an action designed to enrich and to clarify that. It includes such tracks launched at the hearings before the Parliament on the causes of the storm Xynthia.

“The state of protection works, overall concern and the lack of a suitable project management, pose real problems today,” said French Minister of Ecology, Francois Borloo. The system devised by the Department of Ecology take into consideration sea walls and levees along coastlines and rivers, as well as the natural lines of defense such as dunes, lagoons and swamps.

It encompasses not only the upgrading of the park dykes and restructuring of its management, but also reducing the vulnerability of areas at risk and better use of weather forecasting and warnings.

The plan to establish by 2011 a list of high-risk flood areas, identified as priorities, which will trigger the diagnosis and the securing of levees and natural systems involved. However, certain protective structures require urgent action and therefore the initiation of work before the spring tides in August and September. This is the case of dams damaged by the storm Xynthia who are already the subject of work launched in March, which should lead to a consolidation before reliable high tides.

For other works, the identification process is being completed in respect of river levees, and will be completed by the end of 2010. The diagnostic techniques for detecting the most dangerous structures will be established by end-2010 for all works damaged by Xynthia and before the end of 2011 for the entire coastline. This diagnostic work will be done on the sea walls and levees between late 2010 and late 2011.

The organization of project management is another issue to be addressed urgently. In France, almost one third of the sea walls has no known owner or is in the hands of local residents or municipalities with insufficient means.

Devices are to be found in order to ensure that sea walls’ maintenance and repairs are completed specifically when faced with owners with reduced technical and financial capabilities, or if they are unknown. A working group of State and local Governments Representatives, is to make proposals on this topic by the end of 2010, including a better definition of the legal framework for community response.

Another element of the Plan: the urbanization of areas at high risk. A greater control of these areas, including the ban on further construction in low-lying areas, is now recommended by the Ecology Minister. In order to manage urbanization, plans to prevent natural hazards (NRPP) will be completed or be reviewed within a maximum period of three years.

Lessons in Brazil’s oil spill after a decade


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
WATCH: A Youtube Video

Excerpts;

In Brazil, an oil disaster 10 years ago struck an ecosystem much like the mangrove swamps in the US now being threatened by the giant BP oil leak in the US Gulf of Mexico.

More than 1.3 million litres of oil leaked from an underwater pipeline run by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras in 2000, making it the country’s largest spill devastating delicate mangrove ecosystems and destroying local habitat.

The oil contaminated the waters of Guanabara Bay outside Rio de Janeiro, an area which the Brazilian government at the time said would recover after 10 years.

But today the once-green mangrove bay area only has thick black mud and no life left in the soil…

Youtube Video

BBC Article on Guanabara Bay Oil Spill

Mangroves under threat, Solomon Islands


Mangrove roots. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Mangroves are continuously under threat from overharvesting, degradation and land reclamation. Yet we continue to cut them down unaware at times of the role these trees are playing within the coastal ecosystem.

Fiji and other Pacific Islands are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and because we cannot prevent it we have to find means to adapt to climate change…

Read Full Article; By, Solomon Islands Journal, News online.