Updated: Sep 17
Over the past few weeks the Red Tide has devoured the west coasts of Florida.
What is Red Tide?
Red Tide is a large algal bloom. Algae, just like all plants and animals, have their place in the food chain. However, when a colony of algae grows out of control it becomes toxic to its environment. This does occur naturally every few years or so, but it is worsened by our unmindful disposal of waste into the natural world.
2018 Red Tide Event
This year there was a heavy amount of waste disposed into Lake Okeechobee from a sugar plant. Instead of filtering out this waste, a decision was made to dump it into the Gulf of Mexico.
Side note: nothing should be dumped into the ocean. It doesn't just disappear just because you can't see it..
The algae fed on this sugar waste and bloomed. In other words, they thrived so well there is now an over population. This algal bloom is about 10 miles wide.
Because the bloom this year is so large, it is even more toxic than it ever has been before. It is a tragic sight seeing the death surrounding the beaches here in Tampa Bay. We have seen not just small fish wash up, but manatees and even a whale shark. Some dogs have also been affected from playing in the water.
From what I saw, St. Pete Beach is much better than it was the past few weeks. There is still a stench that you can smell even a few blocks away from the beach. I've attached 2 links at the bottom of this blog which will send you to videos I took on location. I wish I had some footage to share when it was bad, but at least this is reassuring that the problem is getting better in some areas.
Although, the tide is moving with the natural flow of the Gulf (north). Therefore, the beaches in north Pinellas county are now being affected worse, and it will keep traveling up the coast until the tide dies down.
Although there is not much the general pubic can do to directly change the events that increase the severity of Red Tide, we can stop supporting the products that are part of the problem.
Pesticides and the chemicals some landscapers/farmers use get into the ground water and therefore end up in larger bodies of water changing the pH balance.
We can also address the problem, and make those people making the decisions understand that there are alternative ways to handle our waste problem.
All waste should be disposed properly whether it is chemical, oil, material, etc. Find out how to properly dispose of your waste so that we can avoid any mass deaths like this one.